As The Ultimate Fighter: Team St-Pierre Vs. Team Koscheck heads into its final push toward the live finale on December 4th at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, the season's favorites and dogs have been more or less established.
The 12th installment of TUF has seen Jonathan Brookins surface as the smart money to win the guaranteed contract while dark horses and future up-and-comers have also separated themselves from the field. Dane Sayers would be an example of the latter while entrants like Nam Phan, Cody McKenzie, Alex Caceres, and Michael Johnson have all shown flashes of intrigue.
However, the most significant development might be coming from the coaches.
Namely, from Josh Koscheck.
In the wake of UFC 117, after UFC president Dana White had finished extolling the card's pay-per-view virtues and staggering gate receipts, I asked him if he though Chael Sonnen's superlative turn as the heel everyone loved to hate played a significant role in the event's success. Once he finished his home-run trot courtesy of the meatball I served up, I asked him if he thought we'd see more overmatched victims taking the Sonnen approach.
That is, sell the card on public blood-lust for comeuppance rather than the promise of a fair fight. Sort of a "tune in to see Fighter X get demolished" rather than a "this is gonna be a battle for the ages" approach.
Dana gave a half-chuckle and then an non-committal response, which was fine because it was more of a rhetorical question than anything else. But that might not be the case for much longer.
Don't look now, but we've got a similar situation developing—an utterly dominant champion facing a challenger with the odds stacked Everest-like against him and, nevertheless, playing the public jackass. Complete with asinine boasts and personal insults.
If UFC 124 is a smashing success a la UFC 117, my rhetorical question may take on new weight.
Because not many brains free from blunt-force trauma are giving Kos a chance against GSP (who's already defeated Blondie once), but you KNOW fight fans by the thousands will be plopping down dinero to see St-Pierre dispatch the No. 1 nuisance at welterweight with extreme prejudice.
And, if you come back at the top of the hour for this week's TUF episode, you'll see why.