It's not uncommon to hear Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White touting each and every new season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show on FOX Sports 1 as "the best one yet!"
Not this time.
Unfortunately, not even the world's top mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter can spin what has proved to be a disastrous nineteenth season, with a lack of chemistry between coaches and some of the dullest fights it has even been my misfortune to cover (see last week's recap here).
White vents during the UFC 174 media scrum (watch it here):
"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. You can’t blame the coaches, you can’t blame this or that; you blame the guys and how bad they really wanted it. That’s just my opinion, but we’ll find out at the finale. We’ll see who shows up and what they do, and they better step it up because those guys are going to come into the UFC. Whoever wins that finale is going to the UFC. You might not see one of those [other] fucking guys in the finale. If it was up to me, no. I was not impressed."
Here's a clip from his episode nine rant before the TUF 19 semifinal fights were picked:
No arguments here.
While the fights "pick up at the end," it may be too late to save this season, from a ratings perspective. The good news is, TUF 20 will have lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and a cast of all-female strawweights (more on that here).
Whether or not they deliver, remains to be seen.