The Ultimate Fighter returns for its 14th and final season on Spike TV when the reality show kicks off Wednesday night.
If the first episode is any indicator, the UFC pulled out all the stops for its swan song on the network that helped turn TUF from a freak-show oddity into a reality-television and organizational juggernaut.
This season revolves around eight featherweights and eight bantamweights, which makes it a double threat. Not only will we be treated to the usual storyline of competitors vying for a guaranteed UFC contract, but these mighty-mights will also be introducing many MMA fans to new weight classes.
Neither the 145-pound division (featherweight) nor the 135-pound version (bantamweight) are well known to the casual or UFC-or-bust fan, as they are recent additions to the sport's elite organization. So perhaps it's no accident that these scrappers seem to be further along in their mixed martial arts development than any of the previous casts.
Without giving too much away, you'll want to catch the special, two-hour premiere because all 16 elimination bouts are featured (or at least given the highlight treatment) and there are at least four burners that you do not want to miss.
As an added bonus, we'll have 16 tiny fighters in one house. I say the odds are good at least a quarter of them are toting around serious Napoleonic complexes, which is a little bit like having four smoldering matches in a keg of gun powder.
Actually, when you consider the coaches, you might have six such matches.
For all their warts—and both have more than their share—you cannot accuse either Michael Bisping or Jason Miller of being boring.
Both the Count and Mayhem Miller know how to grab the spotlight and provoke a reaction. Granted, they do so largely by embracing the black hat, but they have their likable moments as well...well, at least Mayhem does.
Add it all up and Season 14 should have in spades exactly what Season 13 lacked—sizzle inside the Octagon as well in the house.
So tune in tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT for the first installment of TUF on Spike TV and follow along with Bleacher Report as we live blog all the mayhem (yep).