Synopsis by Hal Erickson
"Determination. Discipline. Excellence." These were the qualities required to emerge as The Ultimate Fighter in the Spike TV reality series of the same name. Each season featured at least 16 of the nation's top mixed fighters, all vying for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The contestants were divided into four classes: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight and Welterweight. Living and training under the same roof, the contestants were broken up into two teams, each presided over by such past UFC champions Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin. One by one the contestants were eliminated in challenge rounds staged at the UFC's fabled "Octagon" and involving various forms of boxing, kickboxing and martial arts--until only two finalists remained, to square off in a gala final tournament in Las Vegas. Hosted its first season by singer Willa Ford and in Season Two by UFC president Dana White (who also produced the show), the weekly, hour-long The Ultimate Fighter premiered January 17, 2005.