Fans and pundits alike have been divided over season eight of The Ultimate Fighter. Some found Junie Browning’s antics and the infamous bodily fluid infused pranks to be quite entertaining. Others, not so much. Still, ratings held somewhat steady, and despite all the calls around the fight community for the UFC to clean up the show, Dana White proclaimed no changes would be made.
Which is surprising, because several weeks before Dana made those comments, the one entity that could put the brakes on everything the UFC does in Nevada—the NSAC—expressed their “concern” to the UFC about the TUF antics before granting them the necessary waivers to move ahead with season nine.
For each season of The Ultimate Fighter, dating back to the first season’s filming in late 2004, Zuffa has requested and been granted a waiver of the NSAC’s regulations relating to the results of NSAC-sanctioned fights being posted publicly. This allows the results of the fights on The Ultimate Fighter to remain secret until the fights air on Spike TV months later. These waivers must be requested and granted for each individual season of TUF.
Prior to granting the usual waivers to Zuffa for the upcoming ninth season, which recently started filming and is tentatively scheduled to begin airing on April 1, the NSAC wanted to talk to Zuffa about some of the behavior in the eighth season.
Present at the meeting were Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, Dana White, Marc Ratner, Kirk Hendrick, Michael Mersch, Lawrence Epstein, Andrea Richter, and Craig Piligian, at least four of whom were previously part of the NSAC in some capacity (Lorenzo Fertitta, Ratner, Hendrick, and Mersch).
The NSAC’s official summary of the meeting goes on to say, “Lorenzo Fertitta stated that the UFC does not condone the behavior of those contestants and wants the State and the sport to be reflected in a good light. Lorenzo Fertitta stated that in the future there will be a closer look at any behavior that might be offensive prior to broadcast, and that Zuffa does not encourage such behavior and had no prior knowledge of it occurring.”
I’ll be brutally honest about how I felt about season eight. I didn’t watch it, well, at least not most of it. If you were wondering why this site didn’t give much coverage to TUF 8, that’s why.
During the first half of the season, I usually had it on while I did other things, but didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it simply because I’ve grown tired of the format and the hypocrisy. There’s only so many times you watch the same old story before it gets old, and listen to Dana condemn someone else for their ratings stunts. Junie Browning threatened this guy, threw a glass at that guy. C’mon, who gives a shit? I’ll just watch a old rerun of Cops if I want to see that. At least they get thrown in jail instead of rewarded.
Then it got worse. Once the urine went in the fruit bowl, I was done. Never even saw the sushi incident. The show had jumped the shark for me at that point, and never saw the light of day again on my television.
While I’m thankful for the show since we probably wouldn’t have this sport to love anymore if it was never produced, I, along with many others, feel it’s run its course. People, for whatever reason, still seem to like it though, so it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. And I’m cool with that, whatever, to each his own, but it would be nice if the UFC listened to someone. If not the NSAC, I don’t know who.
Update: I’m an idiot. I skimmed through the MMA Weekly article and missed a few key points, you know, like dates and the part at the end of their story where they spell it out plain as day that the NSAC meeting took place before Dana said they weren’t changing anything. Anyways, I did a few rewrites above so the story would be accurate. Thanks to James Raymis from the comments below for the catch. I apologize for that.