Ever since season one, The Ultimate Fighter seemed a bit lost on its end goal. Why is the winning prize a contract to fight in the UFC and nothing else? After all, half or more of the cast of every season end up being signed to fight in the UFC anyways.
It's time to get serious and offer up a real prize for winning. The Ultimate Fighter combines a grueling gauntlet of physical training, all while trapping 32 men who beat the crap out of other fighters for a living all in the same house. There isn't all that much to do at The Ultimate Fighter house, so now you have 32 professional warriors spending hours and hours in the same space with nothing to do. Toss in free food and alcohol and let the chaos ensue! Dana White himself has said "It's the hardest thing you'll ever do."
Okay, go ahead and keep on giving the winner the same six-figure contract, but it's high time to do better than that. Giving the winner a free custom-made Harley Davidson motorcycle at the end of last season was a nice touch, but in the end, nothing talks louder than money.
If a two-bit minor league promotion like Bellator can give each one of their many yearly tournament winners $100,000 then surely the UFC can do better! The UFC could easily offer up $500,00 to $1,000,000 cash to The Ultimate Fighter winner and still have a few bucks to throw at the winning coach.
Since The Ultimate Fighter is a rigorous and unpleasant ordeal, then in the vein of Survivor, why not give them a big fat check for all their troubles?
Offering a large cash prize adds many benefits:
1.) Even folks who don't really like fighting are much more likely to tune in to watch guys beating the crap out of each other when they're doing it for a cool million dollars.
2.) It raises the profile of The Ultimate Fighter: Given the choice, any fighter would rather take a crack at a $1 million prize as their method of choice for entering the UFC.
3.) This would help to solve another problem: The ever diminishing quality of TUF contestants.
4.) It becomes abundantly clear to aspiring athletes that there's good money to be made in MMA. A chance at that one-time million dollar payday will draw more and more top athletes to compete in this sport.