For The Ultimate Fighter finalists, the struggle is only beginning
In some ways, going from
Then after a week or two you realize that the hours are long, the paycheck isn't so great after taxes, and a part of you misses having your days to yourself to think deep, self-pitying thoughts. Still, a job's a job, and it's better than the alternative.
Sure, he's in the UFC. He's got a name he can build on. But he also gets locked into a contract that -- should his career actually blow up the way it's theoretically supposed to after what we're led to believe is a monumental achievement -- will keep him underpaid and overworked in the couple of years following his
Does that make it a bad deal for the fighters? Yes and no. The
Nijem, for example, who is a slight favorite to win the finale, got on the show after going 4-1 against unremarkable competition over the span of two and a half years. Ferguson went 10-2 over the same time period, and even faced one or two recognizable names during that run.
Again, the relative inexperience and/or obscurity of the competitors is sort of the point of
There's a wonderful simplicity to that. A purity, even. It's probably the most fair reality show on TV, since nobody gets voted off or shoved aside because of some text message popularity contest. If you're talented, you move on.
At the same time, because the show brings together a collection of fighters who are, by definition, either not quite ready or not quite good enough to be in the UFC, what does it mean to beat them all? Some
And make no mistake, both Nijem and Ferguson have some raw ability. They've both displayed flashes of real potential during their time on the show, even if they mostly did it against not-quite-ready-for-primetime opponents.
But when you watch them fight it out for the top spot on Spike TV, remember to take all the talk about what it means to be a
It's nice to be a winner, no matter what you think of the field of competitors. And that cut-glass trophy? I'm sure it looks nice on the mantel. If anyone still has a mantel, that is. But don't get too caught up in the pageantry. For this weekend's