In an effort to make the UFC more mainstream, UFC resident, Dana White started his own reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. The show featured 16 amateur fighters, competing for a six figure UFC contract.
The first season was a huge success, gaining the UFC the much needed exposure that White was looking for. However, nearing the end of it's eighth season, TUF has become more about the fighter's antics than their fighting.
Dave O'Donnell, the "Dana White" of the UK's Cage Rage, has made his own reality show, similar to TUF. Fighting Hurts takes 16 amateur fighters and pits them against each other for a one year, Cage Rage contract. The big difference between Fighting Hurts and TUF is that O'Donnell's show actually focuses on fighting and training.
The first episode was great, to say the least. Since O'Donnell didn't have a full outline for the show, he had fighters from many different weight classes come in and show what they had.
One by one, with a standing BOB bag to their left and a grappling dummy on the floor to their left, each fighter stood in front of O'Donnell, Cage rage referee Grant Waterman, and top Heavyweight Neil Grove.
The fighters were told to show their skills standing up and on the ground, and well as show their ferocity, and prove why they should get picked. The pilot was more comedy than anything, but I for one could not stop laughing.
The rest of the season was packed with all the training the fighters had to go through. With training in Karate, Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai, as well as some boot camp training in episode three, the fighters were shown working hard and doing what it takes to become a fighter.
The fights however, didn't start 'til episode four. The 16 fighters were cut down to eight by the judges votes, all the fighters would give their picks of who they wanted to be voted off, and the judges would make the final pick.
Once there were just the eight fighters left, they were matched up for elimination bouts. Those eight became four, and were then matched up for the semifinals.
The show then focused a bit on the backgrounds of the remaining fighters, telling their stories, and showing where they came from. The last four became two, and the finalist then fought in a live event to crown the first Fighting Hurts champion.
Now, I'll admit that I'm a little bit biased, seeing as how I love British people. I had a British roommate in Israel, and it was awesome, so getting to see a bunch of crazy British fighters was great.
Regardless of that, the show is still top notch. It payed full attention to what it takes to be a fighter, and left out all the pranks, crying, drunk stunts...the list goes on as many of you know.
I hope the numbers were big enough for O'Donnell to make another season of the show, and maybe one day it will make it's way over to the U.S., so that the fans here can see a show worth watching.