Josh Koscheck file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
I maintain that Spike’s immortal “Ultimate Fighter” franchise represents the best that reality television has to offer: namely, regular and sustained beatings of contestants. If only we could observe “The Situation” being peeled off a mat and wheeled into an ambulance at the end of every episode.
Because they’ve never strayed from that formula, it’s unlikely the show will ever become worn out. Wednesday’s premiere of the series’ 12th season had no surprises: You’ve got the likable coach (Georges St. Pierre, so polished he could be a pharmaceutical rep), the heel (Josh Koscheck, who realizes his paycheck depends on stroking a handlebar mustache) and a pile of ambitious fighters who will eventually reveal disparate and conflicting personalities as time goes on.
Oddly, the UFC has in the past several seasons adopted a policy of chopping up preliminary bouts for the first episode or two due to their volume. It’s a lot of action without a whole lot of substance that contrasts with the series’ usual insistence on presenting unedited bouts. (“The Contender,” an NBC series about aspiring boxers that predated “TUF,” dug its grave in part by cutting up footage, destroying any natural rhythm.) On the other hand, viewers tuning into the UFC probably need and expect immediate bashing. You can also view unedited fights on the show’s website. Synergy.
This being Spike, the premiere wouldn’t have been complete without a shot of a contender puking in the bushes -- we got three shots, actually, a generous helping. Between the urine hilarity of past seasons, the frequent dehydration and now vomit, the show is running dangerously low on bodily fluids. Of all the reasons to have concern for people on the show, I reserve most of my sympathy for their housekeeper.