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 Do you wanna be a fucking fighter?

Dana White, president of UFC, Season 1 Ultimate Fighter

The Ultimate Fighter is a reality show on Spike TV that started in 2004, pitting up-and-coming Mixed Martial Arts fighters against one another in a tournament format for a contract(s) in the UFC. The show usually splits the contestants into two teams, each coached by a top UFC fighter. With the exception of Seasons 2 (Franklin and Hughes were friends and refused) and 4 (no head coaches), the coaches would then fight each other after the season was over, using the format to hype the fight (though technically, the coaches for 11 and 13 didn't fight either due to injuries). The show's 14th season recently wrapped production.

Though it varies by season, there are either one or two weight classes represented, resulting in either two tournaments or one big tournament for the contract. The contract originally boasted as being "six figures"; however, that angle has been downplayed over the years. The exception being season 4, "The Comeback," featuring veteran UFC fighters vying for a title shot (this season also was the only one not to have coaches, with a rotating cast of UFC fighters and champs providing training assistance, most often Randy Couture and Georges St. Pierre).

Most of the fighters are very inexperienced (some having no MMA record at all), although the first few seasons were full of fighters who were probably UFC bound anyways. Occasionally a veteran of both the international scene or the UFC itself will make it onto the show (Mac Danzig, Roy Nelson, Wes Sims) or even Kimbo Slice, who is more famous for his Youtube backyard brawls than his formal MMA record.

The show is credited with revitalizing interest in the UFC following "the dark ages" of MMA in the US post John McCain's crusade to have it banned following its brief popularity in the mid nineties. Particularly, the drama around Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck/Bobby Southworth and more importantly, the light heavyweight finale fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, which peaked at around 15 million viewers at one point. Having a time slot right after WWE Monday Night Raw probably helped as well.

The show gets tweaked on a regular basis to avoid stagnation, with varying degrees of success. Early seasons used a team challenge to decide which team chose the next fight, a concept that was dropped by season 4 in favor of straight rotation. Later seasons had a tournament just to get into the house, which proved somewhat popular, although it was dropped for season 10, most likely due to Kimbo Slice's presence (but has returned for Season 11 and on, but dropped again for Season 13 due to the season being shorter than normal). Season 4's experiment with veteran UFC fighters proved a miserable failure, with wily vets putting on boring fights trying to ensure they were healthy enough to continue to the next bracket.

The show has spawned three champions: Season 1 light heavyweight winner Forrest Griffin, Season 2 heavyweight winner Rashad Evans (though he dropped down to LHW immediately after the show, and was the one who beat Griffin), and Season 4 welterweight winner Matt Serra (beating Georges St. Pierre in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, although he would lose badly in the rematch). Many of the early season contestants have gone also gone on to become top contenders.


The Ultimate Fighter in general provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: "Big Country" Roy Nelson, winner of Season 10. Its been speculated he never fought for the UFC for years despite being considered a top heavyweight because of his physique, which he is quite proud of. Nelson proved to the nation that you can be a big man and still kick ass.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Gabe Ruedigar in Season 5, though he admitted he was just doing it to mess with the other fighter's heads.
    • Nick Ring confirmed this as well about his Season 11 behavior, targeting the (according-to-him) homophobic Jamie Yager in particular.
  • Arch Enemy: The common motif for the coaches.
    • Season 3 coaches Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz revived their bitter rivalry.
    • Season 5 gave us B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver. B.J. went as far as to choose his team based on all the fighters who said that they didn't like Jens Pulver. This is one of the few bitter rivalries that seemed to have tapered off by the end, as Pulver stated he would train with Penn after their fight.
    • Season 6 had Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. Serra despised Hughes for insulting Gracie jiu-jitsu and treating GSP with disrespect during Season 4.
    • During Season 9, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping developed a severe distaste for each other during taping.
    • Season 10 coaches Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans had already clashed during a promotional face-off and brought considerable heat into the show.
    • Season 11 featured long-time rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
    • Season 12 had Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck, with Koscheck playing up his hated heel persona against hugely popular babyface GSP.
    • Season 14 has Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller, who apparently developed a distaste for each other.
    • Season 15 features Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz. They're surprisingly civil toward each other in the first episode, but get more heated in later episodes. Some of the confrontations appear a little scripted.
    • The first international version, The Ultimate Fighter Brasil, has Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort as coaches. Vitor had previously shellacked Wanderlai many years ago in an early UFC fight.
  • Backyard Wrestling: Although there have been a few scuffles in the house, there has only been one incident where fighters actually staged an impromptu bout in the actual backyard of the house, complete with another contestant acting as referee. All three contestants were immediately ejected from the show.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Often a disliked fighter will win the show.
    • Tony Ferguson got into a lot of heat for having a drunken meltdown one night and repeatedly ridiculing another fighter for having an estranged son. He won the show and has been apologetic about the incident.
    • Rashad Evans was criticized for showboating during his fights. This habit has caused him to be be a heel through much of his career.
    • Michael Bisping is known for being extremely cocky, but won his fight. His villain status was confined mostly to American fans. British fans ate him up.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Forrest Griffin, mostly thought to be a fun, good-natured fellow, goes completely off after a comment by Rampage Jackson in Season 7 and destroys several doors. Marcus Jones in Season 10, thought to be a gentle giant until he feels one of his friends has been threatened.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Matt Hughes' decision to hold a Bible reading session, using it to compare himself to Queen Esther. Matt Serra, his bitter rival and opposing coach, certainly didn't hold back his disdain for the act.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Season 14 coach Jason "Mayhem" Miller has quite an oddball personality and used some nontraditional training methods that seemed to really work.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Jason Thacker during his brief time on Season 1.
    • Blake Bowman, in spite of being the show's Deadpan Snarker, is repeatedly called out by Mac Danzig for not being a real, dedicated fighter. Halfway through the season, Danzig became guilty and gave himself reminders to "be nice to Blake."
    • Zak Jensen and Darrill "Titties" Schoonover in Season 10.
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Subverted in Season 8, where during the coach's challenge we find out Rodrigo Nogueira is possibly the only Brazillian that doesn't know how to play soccer.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Season 1 gave us Yoga-enthusiast Diego Sanchez, Season 2 had Luke Cummo and his wall sitting (and we later found out, piss drinking), Season 4 had crazy but ghetto-fabulous Shonie Carter, Season 5 gave us Corey Hill and his alter ego Buddy Row, Season 8's Axe Crazy Junie Browning...
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Dana White most of the time, most famously in his motivation speech in the first season (see page quote).
  • Confession Cam
  • Cooldown Hug: Happens repeatedly after emotional confrontations in the house, but it's almost always a formality, and both parties come away just as angry as before. Bobby Southworth hugging Chris Leben after his "fatherless bastard" comment had no effect. The trope is usually played straight after a fight, when both fighters have apparently gotten the anger out of their system.
  • Cool Garage: The UFC Training Center. Most fighters who come on the show, even after watching it for years, are awed by the gym's awesomeness, as most come from small gyms that don't have a quarter of the equipment.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Several of the fighters on the show go on in the tournament much farther than expected, defying the odds and beating several heavily favored (and often more experienced) fighters.
    • Season 2 has Luke Cummo, who was picked dead last and won a spot in the finale, though he lost the championship to Joe Stevenson.
    • Rashad Evans, who fought at heavyweight even through he's undersized as a light heavyweight. He won the championship, won the LHW belt, and is widely considered the best fighter to ever come out of the show.
    • Matt Serra in season 4. While he was a favorite to win the show, his victory granted him an immediate title shot against newly crowned world-beater Georges St-Pierre, against whom he was a monumental underdog. Serra beat GSP in the first round in what is widely considered the biggest upset in MMA history.
    • Amir Sadollah won Season 7 with an professional record of 0-0 and a very explicit inferiority complex. Most of his victories were come-from-behind submissions. He stated at the end of the show that if you had lined up all the men he fought on the show and told him to beat them all, he would have refused to fight.
    • One of season 12's Crowning Moments of Funny was when Koscheck was conned into abandoning his desired first draft pick, Michael Johnson, for Marc Stevens... who would lose to GSP's sixth pick, Cody McKenzie, in only sixteen seconds.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many, but Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, and Amir Sadollah are standouts.
  • Determinator: Season 11 winner Court McGee, who made it through the elimination fight in a sudden-victory round, lost his first fight in the house, and got a wildcard spot mainly by running after Dana (who had just announced that an injured winning fighter would have to relinquish his spot) when he'd left the training center, all but begging to get back in the competition. In all, he had five fights in six weeks. Also something of his in-ring style, as evidenced by his appearance at UFC 121 where he plainly lost the first round, won the second, and finished the fight in the third. Oh yeah, and in 2005, with his drug addiction at its worst point, he was at one point declared legally dead, and now look where he is.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first season, fighters can be eliminated without ever having fought on the show. The first two seasons have physical challenges to determine who gets fight selection. All other seasons dispensed with the physical challenges and contestants are eliminated by losing fights. In early seasons, fighters who lost would leave the house, but later seasons have defeated fighters stay in as training partners and potential alternates.
  • Eliminated From the Race: In this case, almost always by losing a fight, though sometimes by injury or being foolish and breaking the rules or asking to leave. Generally if it's the latter you're probably never working for UFC again.
    • In the first season, two fighters were voted out of the house by the coaches before they could even fight. This was tweaked in season 2 to the lowest picked fighters fighting each other to stay and was completely dropped afterwards. By season 7 there was a tournament just to get into the house, ensuring that everyone who was in had proven themselves and gave the show a bigger initial pool of fighters.
    • The show initially had a "loser's house" that those who had lost went to in case a replacement was needed; this was dropped by Season 3 after they realized the winners still needed training partners. Now the losers stay in the house throughout the show in case a fill-in is needed.
    • Season 11 would combine Season 7's "get into the house" fights with a wild-card berth, using twenty-eight fighters to start, fourteen getting in the house, and seven regular fights--the eighth fight being between two of the fighters who'd lost their "get in the house" fights, chosen by the coaches and Dana White. Court McGee would get back in through a wild-card fight due to his attitude of wanting to get back in by any means possible, and go on to win the season. Season 12 would reuse this format, except with the wild-card berth being chosen from the losing fighters already in the house.
  • Escalating War: The two teams often get into prank wars that escalate until contestants come to blows. The pranks reached a critical mass when one contestant masturbated into another contestant's sushi. From that point on, later seasons of fighters Genre Savvy enough to not take their pranks too far.
  • Face Heel Turn:
    • Matt Hughes in Season 2. Through most of his fighting career, Hughes was generally liked and seen to be a down-to-earth country boy. During his stint as a coach, however, he came off as much more of a Jerkass. It was especially pronounced during his stint as a guest coach on Season 4, when he repeatedly antagonized fellow guest coach George St-Pierre, earning him the ire of Matt Serra. He continued this trend during his second coach stint on Season 6. His attempts to connect with his team through Bible study backfired, and he ultimately came off as self-important and condescending.
    • Ken Shamrock as a Season 3 coach to some. While a beloved legend, he didn't seem to be the best coach, giving guys days off they would rather be training, not bringing in a submission specialist to coach (opting for a "strength and conditioning" guy who seemed more suited for training bodybuilders than fighters), and being a bit full of himself.
    • Rampage Jackson managed to avoid this during his first stint as coach opposite Forrest Griffen, but he came off quite badly during his second stint, against Rashad Evans. He quickly developed a bad attitude about losing, focusing on his own glory at the expense of his fighters. In one notable example, he abandoned a fighter who had just lost and left him to be consoled by the opposite team. Rashad Evans, who is generally a heel himself, missed no opportunity to call out Rampage for his immature behavior.
    • Many started to dislike B.J. Penn after his disjointed coaching during Season 5. His dislike for opposing coach Jens Pulver seemed to consume all of his attention, at the expense of sanity and coaching skill. He started off the show by demanding to select team members based on whether they disliked Pulver or not.
    • Tony Ferguson started off the show as a nice, tough, clean-cut kid. Toward the end of the show, Tony had too many drinks and went ballistic on Charlie Rader, mocking him about being unable to see his son due to child support issues. The other contestants were flabbergasted by his repeated and unmotivated personal attacks and his complete refusal to let the issue die. His apology during the finale did little to mitigate his tarnished reputation.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Some fighters seem to show a surprising lack of skill and dedication for being on such a large stage.
    • Jason Thacker on the first season, who struggled to even finish practice. He was the first to be cut from the show, without even being given the opportunity to fight.
    • Wayne Weems of Season 5. During training, coach Jen Pulver noted he had difficulty doing even the most basic of MMA drills (like hitting the pads) and didn't have any real skills. Later, the website Pro Wrestling Torch investigated his record, and while he did have a few legitimate fights, most of it was seemingly padded from pro wrestling events.
    • Blake Bowman. Eventual season winner Mac Danzig repeatedly insisted that he was a nice guy, but not a fighter.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: One possible reason why season 15 got such low ratings.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Junie Browning, who insisted that a lot of his Axe Crazy antics were intentional to get more camera time and recognition.
    • His brother on the following season was the same, though he didn't last long.
    • Forrest Griffin has said he would often change his look every few days (mostly wildy varying his hair color) in order to make Manipulative Editing and out of sequence events more noticable should it occur. It's been speculated that because of this, the producers have asked the fighters since to not alter their looks too much to facilitate editing (and could also explain the Limited Wardrobe).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Heavily averted. The bloodier the wound, the better! Though in certain foreign markets, the messier wounds are greyed/pixelated.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Matt Serra, who looks, sounds and acts like this trope's former name.
  • Heel Face Turn:
    • Chris Leben, who spent the early part of the first season being an obnoxious drunk, became an immediate sympathetic face after Bobby Southworth called him a "fatherless bastard." He had just told his housemates he recently met his birth father for the first time. Leben attempted to avoid Southworth to prevent a career-ending brawl, going as far as to sleep on the front lawn, but Southworth and fellow heel Josh Koscheck sprayed him with a garden hose. Enraged but still savvy enough not to attack his nemeses directly, he took his anger out on doors throughout the house. Although he lost the show, he would soon become a fan favorite fighter known for his willingness to put it all on the line.
    • Tito Ortiz as a coach of Season 3. As the season started, most figured beloved legend Ken Shamrock would be the favorite and hated cocky heel Ortiz would be reviled; however, the season showed Ortiz to be a caring and effective coach and Shamrock to be somewhat bumbling and not into it much.
    • To some extent Kimbo Slice, who was hated by many hardcore MMA fans and most expected to come off bad on the show; however Slice was shown to be very humble and eager to learn, earning him a lot of respect for even doing the show.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most episode titles are fairly generic, although a few gems have slipped in. Notably "Waaaah!" (the Andy Wang crying like a baby one) and "Titties" (Rampage Jackson's nickname for Darrill Schoonover throughout the episode, although apparently its been renamed since as "Sharks").
  • Insult Backfire: A lot of this happened to Josh Koscheck throughout Season 12.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Fighters are forbidden to leave the house grounds. The only cast member who hopped the fence (for a midnight rendezvous) has been caught. He was immediately ejected from the show and blacklisted from the UFC. Hope it was worth it!
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Brock Lesnar told his fighters that he was going to "turn chicken shit into chicken salad." His fighters immediately balked at apparently being called "chicken shit." Even after Lesnar learned about his team's reaction, he stood by the expression and used it several times afterwards.
    • Season 3's "Team Dagger!"
    • In Season 12, Josh Koscheck decided to pick a fight with a medic that had been hired by Georges St-Pierre's team by repeatedly calling him a "male nurse." Male nurses are actually pretty common and make a good living, but the medic still took exception to Koscheck's attempt to insult him.
  • Jerkass:
    • Matt Hughes, who has been on the show in some way three times as a coach. First in Season 2, where his former "Aw Shucks" Farmboy persona crumbled in many viewers' eyes (possibly a Face Heel Turn) as he verbally abused several of the fighters and came off rather dickish. Again in Season 4 where as a guest coach for one episode he managed to stir shit between Matt Serra and a trainer (see Rant-Inducing Slight), insult Georges St-Pierre by offering to teach him how to defend an armbar (he beat GSP via armbar in their first fight, while GSP would get revenge by armbarring HIM in their third... after transitioning from both a kimura and a triangle choke attempt), and bizarrely referring to a black fighters "big lips" (see Big Lipped Alligator Moment). He made a concerted effort to try NOT to come off as a jerkass when he coached Season 6 against Matt Serra, but Your Mileage May Vary on that.
    • During a short visit to his cousin Manvel Gamburyen, Karo Parisyan immediately started picking a fight with Nate Diaz, who is the brother of Nick Diaz, whom Parisyan had previously defeated. The confrontation culminated with Karo screaming "Do you know who I am, bro?!? You know what I could do to you?" Cousin Manvel was left completely baffled by what had just occured.
    • Josh Koshcheck both in Season 1 (notable the taunting of Leben). By Season 12, Koscheck had settled comfortably into his career as a heel and seemed deteremined to be as obnoxious as possible. He was a poor winner, a poor loser, and even stooped to picking a fight with a medic.
    • Tony Ferguson in Season 13 seemed like a tough, clean guy. After a minor confrontation at the house, he mocked Charlie Rider's difficulty with child support and how the man hadn't seen his son. The episode was appropriately titled, "Then It Turned Ugly."
  • Kick the Dog: Josh Koscheck to Chris Leben. Leben was less than pleased.
  • Let Me At Him: A common motif. Many instances of fighters having to be held back from attacking another cast mate, being told to save it for the cage. Occasionally the coaches too,
    • Ken Shamrock in Season 3, who had to be restrained several times from attacking hated rival Tito Ortiz. Season 11 had Chuck Liddell being similarly restrained, presumably from attacking, surprise, hated rival Tito Ortiz (he seems to bring out the best in people).
    • A particularly amusing example in Season 12 has Team Koscheck fighter Sevak Magakian responds to Team GSP fighter Alex "Bruce Leroy" Cacares' insults by flinging a napkin at him... before taking the long way around the table, freezing up once he was within reach of Cacares, and then screaming as he was finally held back by Team Koscheck fighter Nam Phan.
    • Koscheck's own physcial attack on GSP's team medic after a war of words.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Fighters aren't allowed to bring anything with a logo on it. They are supplied with UFC and Tapout brand gear to make up the difference. Wearing their team jersey seems to be all but required for fight picks and fight days.
  • Manipulative Editing: Several fighters and a few coaches have accused the show of this, but notably less so than other shows of this type.
    • Ken Shamrock accused the UFC of editing the show specifically to make him look bad. Genre Savvy
    • Forrest Griffin attempted an interesting subversion of this by altering his look every few days so any maniuplative editing would be more apparent. In the commentary on Season 1, he pointed out several instances where this is apparent just by him being in the background with different colored hair in the same sequence.
    • In Season 12, some very suspicious editing was done with the confrontation between Koscheck and the medic. On the show, Koscheck looked especially dickish in his war of words that ended in him getting physical with the medic. However, the unedited version of the event on the UFC webpage showed that the medic had made some pretty low comments about one of Koscheck's fighters, including making fun of his English among other things. While it doesn't excuse Koscheck, it does paint him in a little better light, but given that he was being made out to be the bad guy of the show (not that he needed much help)...
  • Narm Charm: In The Ultimate Fighter Brasil, Wanderlei Silva.
  • Nice Hat: In season 14, Akira Corrasani wore a fedora around the house to hide his bald spot.
  • Not So Harmless: Season 14's John Dodson is 5'3 and bounds around like he's on a permanent sugar buzz- he also had all-but-one of his wins during the season by KO or TKO.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Some fighters, especially in the earlier seasons, are very put off by all the cameras and stuck in the house lifestyle. A couple have even quit the show over it. One fighter in season 11, Norman Paraisy, quit after the very first round. Five minutes was too much for him. Even the doctors were utterly disgusted.
  • North East England: Represented by Season 15's Andy Ogle.
  • Oh Crap: Season 11 had arch rivals Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddel as coaches, and they absolutely hate each other. After one of Liddel's fighters quits, Dana White is sitting between the two and Chuck comments about how disgraced he was that his fighter tapped out to strikes. Dana, who's a tough guy, looks like he's soiled himself because Tito did in fact submit to strikes in their fight.
  • Old Shame: Many of the early season fighters have gone on to become top contenders (and much better fighters), and openly wince watching some of their show fights. Forrest Griffin flat out said he can't believe he won Season 1 fighting the way he did.
  • One of Us: Season 5 coach Jens Pulver is an avid gamer, particularly in World of Warcraft. Season 2 finalist Luke Cummo is an aspiring comic book artist. Season 10's Marcus Jones, despite looking like a Scary Black Man, is a sensitive soul who enjoys gardening and Dungeons and Dragons (though mess with his friends and you may push his Berserk Button). Season 12 coach Georges St. Pierre is very into paleontology (and history!), and Cody Mc Kenzie seems more of a hippy than a fighter. Season 6's winner Mac Danzig, an animal rights activist, photographer and a vegan.
  • Overly Long Gag:
  • Product Placement:
    • So, so bad in the first two seasons. Sponsor Gillette's anti-perspirant was shown constantly, as well as being the "Team Challenge" sponsors. Additionally, supplement company Xyience got plenty of airtime in the second season, even showing "casual" conversations between the fighters and coaches on its effectiveness. Boost Mobile also got plenty of air time. Sequences also featured the contestants playing the latest hot video games.
    • For many seasons, White would announce before each fight that the stoppage bonus is brought to you by the show's main sponsor.
    • The main sponsor of the show gets a large decal in the center of the cage. The center of the cage is a strategic position, and the decals often have better traction than the rest of the cage. Coaches sometimes instruct their fighter to position himself on the decal. "Stay on Burger King!"
    • Perhaps due to cultural differences, The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil is far more blatant with its product placement than the American show. Shots often zoom in on the brand logos of complimentary items the fighters are using. A number of sequences are also staged purely to pitch various items, such as protein bars, energy drinks, shaving cream, and Ford trucks. The show also has public service announcements, such as Dos Santos' lecture on preventing Dengue fever.
  • Put Me in Coach:
    • Said verbatim by Gabe Ruediger while weight cutting in the sauna. Written off as him being a drama queen.
    • When contestants become too injured to fight, their replacements (selected from the pool of the defeated) are often chosen by their willingness to fight. One fighter chased Dana out of the house to beg him for the opportunity. Dana was so impressed that he gave him the fight on the spot.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Matt Serra, twice. After one of the trainers slights Royce Gracie for losing a fight to Matt Hughes, Serra takes it personally because he earned his BJJ black belt under the Gracies. Later, he overhears Matt Hughes antagonizing Georges St-Pierre, prompting Serra to rant about what a "penis" Hughes is.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Some fighters, despite the show being on for several years, still fail to grasp the concept of showing up in shape, following the rules, and winning fights.
  • Red Herring: Or possibly a Bait and Switch, heavily abused in Season 10. Kimbo Slice, the largest ratings grabber in the show's history, lost his first fight very decisively. After that, several subsequent episodes' previews for the next episode made it seem like Slice would be replacing someone and fighting again (he never did on the show). Eventually, he would get a fight that even the commentators thought was "weird" (i.e. boring) on the finale card...and cut after his next fight, which he lost badly.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: In an incredibly dumb move, a handful of fighters went on a drunken rampage in Las Vegas after Season 7 wrapped, yelling that they were UFC fighters and didn't have to follow the rules. Dana White immediately fired them.
  • Sensual Spandex: Or at least Shonie Carter thought so. The other fighters on Season 4 were a little put off by his banana hammock fight shorts. Season 12 coach GSP was also taunted by opposing coach Josh Koscheck for his habit of wearing tight shorts in fights... by standing around in tight compression shorts, with GSP reacting by declaring, "I don't like to check out other guys."
  • Serious Business: Fighting, of course. Many of the fighters and coaches, given the nature of what they do, are crazy competitive about everthing. Notable examples include coach Matt Hughes, who hates losing at anything (especially to Matt Serra in Season 9), and possibly the most epic, serious business coach's challenge ever, the ping pong match between coaches B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver in Season 5.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Several of the contestants on the show have gone on to become coaches, including Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Matt Serra, Michael Bisping and most recently Josh Koscheck.
  • The Unintelligible: Pretty much any time a British fighter is on the show. Starting from Ross Pointon and Michael Bisping in Season 3, a LOT of the Brits get subtitled in the US run of the show. This made Season 9, US vs. UK, into a reading assignment for many. During Team UK's preliminary fights, one a UK fighter jokingly asks, "Please don't subtitle me." They had to subtitle him. It's interesting to note that the Armenian-born fighter speaking American English with a foreign accent is not subtitled, but the native English speakers using British English are.
  • Water Works:
    • Many instances, but most famously Andy Wang, who bawled like a baby after losing his match, prompting his own coach, B.J. Penn, to make fun of him on national TV... and in fact, the episode title was "Waaaah!" This was, of course, after Penn yelled at the BJJ black belt the entire fight to go to the ground; Wang instead choosing to stand, bang, and lose. Penn later kicked Wang off his team, the first time this has ever happened.
    • Gabe Ruediger multiple times.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Season 13, the doorway leading to the cage area becomes increasingly damaged as the season goes on, to the point of being near destroyed during the semi finals. This is never addressed on screen.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Clay in Season 13 kept referring to his closed injury as a compound fracture. A compound fracture doesn't mean you can see the bone under the skin due to deformity. A compound fracture means the skin is broken and the bone is exposed. In the end, it was a nasty dislocation. Here's a moulage (false) compound fracture for those who want to see the difference. It's still fairly graphic.
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