04-23-2006, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Spike’s ‘Ultimate Fighter’ knocks out competition
Two weeks ago, in an otherwise positive review of Spike TV’s reality show ‘‘Ultimate Fighter,” this writer referred to UFC President Dana White as a ‘‘human wedgie.”
In any sport, that would be considered a cheap shot.
White left a voice mail message, laughing about the dig and thanking me for the support.
For those keeping score at home, in the class competition:
UFC president: 1
Future Wal-Mart greeter: O
White has a lot to be happy about these days.
The third-season debut of ‘‘Ultimate Fighter” drew 2.4 million viewers and earned Spike TV its highest ratings in the cable channel’s history. As White noted last week, calling from Las Vegas, it ‘‘crushed” the competition in the sought-after 18-34 male demographic.
The series (tonight at 10) about 16 mixed martial arts fighters living in one house and competing for six-figure contracts in the UFC is delivering its most exciting season yet, thanks to some great casting and the addition of coaches Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, fighting legends and two men who just happen to loath each other with a blood fury.
White, 36, a one-time Hub resident who ran a youth boxing program in South Boston, agreed that the housemates have fallen into two camps, team Ortiz and team Shamrock. But White sees the danger of that blind loyalty even if his cast doesn’t yet.
‘‘There are no teams in fighting,” he said. ‘‘You go in and fight for yourself. Once you step into the octagon, you are alone.”
As their numbers dwindle - a fight per episode sends the loser home - White says the pressure will increase.
‘‘Nobody can understand what it’s like to live in a house with a guy you’ll be fighting, training with him every day. He knows your every move, every weakness, and knows how good you are. You never know what’s going to happen in a fight. ‘Where’s my team? My team is gone. I’m here alone. It changes my whole life if I win, and if I don’t, who knows what’s going to happen?’
When White and his partners purchased UFC in 2001, the franchise was in dire shape, he recalled.
‘‘There was a big misconception that our guys were gorillas who rolled off of bar stools and had nothing better to do.”
Far from it. As White noted, four of his current champions have college degrees.
‘‘If it wasn’t for UFC, these guys would be doctors, lawyers or accountants,” he joked.
More seriously, he noted that no fighter has ever died or suffered a career-ending injury in a UFC bout.
White said his company is committed to its pay-per-view programs and to launching programs on Spike TV, HBO and other platforms. He’s also developing an action drama along the lines of ‘‘The Shield” that would involve some UFC veterans.
As for what fans will see on ‘‘Ultimate Fighter,” he said, ‘‘There are going to be some big twists and turns this season. If I brought in a big Hollywood writer, he couldn’t write this stuff.”
credit to the original article HERE