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TUF 19 in danger of being one of the forgotten seasons



tuf19This season had such potential. There were a couple of impressive knockouts and performances to get into the house. Both B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar put together strong coaching teams. There was even a few rivalries, including one between Matt Van Buren and Chris Fields, that did not live up to the trash talk in the house.

That is the problem so far this season according to Dana White in an interview he did with MMA Junkie. He had this to say about TUF 19, “It was without a doubt the worst season and the least motivated the fighters have ever been…But I can say this, at least the fights pick up at the end.”

In the interview he went on to draw comparisons to TUF 19 and TUF: Latin America that is currently filming saying, “Let me tell you the difference between that season and what’s going on with Mexico and Latin America right now. Every day we’re in there, and I don’t want to miss any of these fights. These guys are so pumped to be living in that house and so excited to be fighting.”

Some fighters come on the show and they want to win the whole thing. They are focused much like Chris Holdsworth was on TUF 18 and he may be the only male fighter off of that season to have a long career in the UFC.

Other fighters are just happy to get on the show. It is known that you usually get a fight during the final show and if you win that fight you can launch your career with the UFC. There are many fighters who have not won the show and had long careers with them. C.B. Dollaway being a great example.

There are a couple a factors in why the show’s ratings are so poor, and the fights have a lot to do with it. Right now many of these fighters will not be on the undercard. Dana did that with TUF 18 with the men and seems poised to do it again.

The fighters that are on TUF: Latin America sound hungrier than the cast of TUF 19. In those countries, this is their big shot to get into the UFC. When that season airs on Fight Pass people will quickly forget about TUF 19 once they see the hungrier fighters.

Now in the U.S., there are several excellent local promotions like Legacy and RFA that give the fighters a great way to get into the UFC. A couple of wins in one of them and you can get that call.

There is also the WSOF that is paying fighters quite well. Cody Bollinger turned his time on TUF 18, where he was kicked off for not making weight, into a lucrative deal with the WSOF.

TUF is about to get a double jolt that will re-invigorate the series. First is the TUF: Latin America that is being shot right now and next will be TUF 20. This will be one of the most epic seasons of TUF in its history.

While Penn and Edgar have been solid coaches, they are almost too nice. They are veterans in the sport and their legacies are secure. They have each held a UFC belt in the past.

While Gilbert Melendez is also a veteran, he has never been a UFC champion. He is 32 years old and only has so many fights left in his career, especially at the championship level. If he loses to Anthony Pettis then it could be awhile before he gets another title shot.

Pettis is still young and a lot of his career is in front of him if he can stay healthy. That is the big problem for him so far in his short career. If he could defend his belt and emerge from the fight healthy that would be a big step for him.

Besides the two head coaches it is the other coaches that will also add some flavor to this season. There will be some kind of Diaz brother involvement, along with Jake Shields for Melendez. While Pettis will hopefully bring Duke Roufus and Ben Askren.

TUF 20 will not be about the coaches though, it will come down to the fights and the fighters. That will be the strength of this season. It will be stacked with talented fighters who come to fight, not for a spot in the UFC, but instead the strawweight title.

The eight known cast members are some of the top strawweights fighting today. Starting with the only strawweight champ for Invicta FC, Carla Esparza, as most people’s favorite. She is joined by Rebecca Rawlings, Felice Herrig, Joannne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Alex Chambers, and Emily Kagan.

The remaining eight will likely come from these fighters who tried out for the show; Justine Kish, Jessica Penne, Michelle Ould, Angela Magana, Lisa Ellis, Aisling Daly, Heather Clark, Nina Asaroff, Randa Markos Thomas, Claire Fryer, Jill Lybarger and Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger.

These fighters are all hungry to make their mark and be the first UFC strawweight champion. The fights on this season will not be boring and there are already some rivalries amongst the cast. With even more lurking with many of the potential cast-mates for this season.

TUF 19 still has a chance to make an impression in people’s minds with the few remaining fights. Dana has hinted that they are better, but for a man who loves to use hyperbole to hype TUF that faint praise is easy to interpret. The live finale could give us two great fights as well. That is what it will take to really save this season from getting lost it the dual tidal wave that is about hit fans in TUF: Latin America and TUF 20.

Look for complete fighter breakdowns for all of the TUF 20 cast members and potential ones right here at Fight Booth as we move through the summer.

An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny