The Ultimate Fighter (later designated The Ultimate Fighter 1) was the debut season of the mixed martial arts reality television series and premiered on January 17, 2005. Sixteen mixed martial arts fighters (eight Light Heavyweights weighing from 186 to 205 lbs and eight Middleweights weighing from 171 to 185 lbs) were invited to participate in the show where they would reside together and train in two separate teams coached by UFC Light Heavyweight fighters Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. The teams would compete in physical challenges, segments hosted by singer Willa Ford, to determine which team would have the right to pair one of their own fighters against an opponent of their choice in the same weight class, with the loser being eliminated.
The finale was broadcast live on April 9, 2005, where the two finalists in each weight class faced off for a contract with the UFC. It was the first ever live UFC broadcast on non-pay-per-view television, and it drew a very impressive 1.9 overall rating. The series was also broadcast in the UK in the spring of 2005 on Bravo. A 5-disc DVD set of “The Ultimate Fighter” was released on November 1, 2005.
Coaches and Trainers:
Randy Couture (Team Couture coach)
Chuck Liddell and Charlie Incarnato (Team Liddell coaches)
Marc Laimon, Grappling coach
Ganyao Fairtex, Muay Thai coach
Peter Welch, Boxing coach
Fighters (as originally assigned):
A. Team Liddell: Bobby Southworth, Sam Hoger, Forrest Griffin, Alex Schoenauer
B. Team Couture: Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Lodune Sincaid, Jason Thacker
A. Team Liddell: Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Josh Rafferty
B. Team Couture: Nathan Quarry, Chris Leben, Alex Karalexis, Chris Sanford
Dana White, Willa Ford (Hosts)
Mike Rowe (Narrator)
Episode 1: The Quest Begins (Original Air Date: January 17, 2005
- The 16 fighters are driven to the UFC Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they meet Willa Ford, Dana White, and their coaches, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.
- At the house, Chris Leben keeps on drinking and drinking, and starts to make fun of Jason Thacker, and give people stupid nicknames.
- At 2:00 AM, while Jason Thacker is in the shower, Chris Leben decides to urinate on Jason Thacker’s pillow, without Thacker noticing.
- The fighters are woken up at 5:00 AM by Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, and the first day of training proves too much for almost half of the fighters.
- During the Jiu-Jitsu training, Nate Quarry cuts himself on his chin after landing a takedown.
- After the second day of training, Jason Thacker talks to Randy Couture and says that the training is too much for him, but Couture talks him into staying and trying to get the training done.
- On the 4th day, everyone is ready to spar, except for Jason Thacker, because of the training, so Bobby Southworth and Lodune Sincaid decide to talk him into going with them, saying they need him and he is part of the team.
- While Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar are sparring, Forrest accidentally headbutts Bonnar and Bonnar needs stitches.
- Light Heavyweight and Middleweight teams are chosen by coaches Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. The first pick for Team Liddell is Bobby Southworth. The first pick for Team Couture is Nate Quarry.
Episode 2: Team Challenges (Original Air Date: January 24, 2005)
- Diego Sanchez and Stephan Bonnar argue over asparagus, because Diego ate all the asparagus and leaves the heads in the fridge.
- Team Liddell wins the first Light Heavyweight Challenge.
- Later that night, Lodune Sincaid is making jokes about being homosexual, like dressing in dresses.
- Jason Thacker is sent home by Randy Couture.
- Chris Leben and Lodune Sincaid continue to drink and start to offend people. Later, Chris, while drunk, decides to hop the wall and find a pay phone to call someone, not mentioned.
- The next morning at practice, Randy Couture finds out about the incident, and Leben and Sincaid apologize for their actions.
- Team Liddell wins the first Middleweight Challenge.
- Chris Sanford is sent home by Randy Couture.
Episode 3: Making Weight (Original Air Date: January 31, 2005)
- Alex Schoenauer wins the Light Heavyweight challenge. Bobby Southworth comes in last and will be forced to fight in the elimination fight.
- Team Liddell chooses Bobby Southworth to fight Lodune Sincaid.
- Bobby Southworth has to cut 20 lb. in 24 hours, with the help of Josh Koscheck and Chuck Liddell, but Bobby comes in at 208 lb, so the Nevada Athletic Commission gives Bobby 2 hours to cut 2 pounds, and he successfully makes it to 206 lb.
- Bobby Southworth defeats Lodune Sincaid by knockout at 0:12 of the second round.
Episode 4: On the Ropes (Original Air Date: February 7, 2005)
- Alex Schoenauer is traded to Team Couture as part of a team re-balance.
- Team Liddell wins the Middleweight challenge and the opportunity to schedule the next fight.
- Team Liddell chooses Diego Sanchez to fight Alex Karalexis.
- Diego Sanchez defeats Alex Karalexis with a rear naked choke submission at 1:47 of the first round.
Episode 5: Un-Caged (Original Air Date: February 14, 2005)
- Nate Quarry injures his ankle after Randy Couture lands on his ankle during a takedown in practice.
- Dana White decides to allow the fighters to have a night out at the Hard Rock Cafe, and had a few drinks, and some of them get drunk.
- At 2:00 AM, the fighters are drunk and continuing to drink, and Josh Rafferty says that there isn’t anymore alcohol in the house.
- By the pool, Chris Leben says something that makes Bobby Southworth mad, and then Southworth calls Leben a “fatherless bastard,” which hurts Leben’s feelings. Five minutes later, Southworth apologizes to Leben, but seems insincere.
- Chris Leben decides to sleep outside to stay away from the other fighters.
- At 3:30 AM, Josh Koscheck and Bobby Southworth continue to drink and then decide to pull a prank on Chris Leben, by spraying water on Leben while he is sleeping. The water sprays on Leben, wakes him, and causes him to go on a rampage by punching the front door window with his left hand, which cuts his knuckle skin off. Leben then punches Forrest Griffin’s door in half, and Griffin later comments that there are pieces of the bedroom door in his bed.
- The next day, Dana White tells Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell what happened the previous night between Bobby Southworth, Josh Koscheck, and Chris Leben. The fighters are then brought in to explain what happened.
- Dana White says that the only fair way to resolve the situation is for Josh Koscheck and Chris Leben to fight.
Episode 6: The Fight Is On (Original Air Date: 21 February 2005)
- As fallout from the previous episode, there is no challenge and Dana White schedules the Middleweight fight between Chris Leben and Josh Koscheck.
- Josh Koscheck defeats Chris Leben by unanimous decision after two rounds.
Episode 7: Ground and Pound (Original Air Date: February 28, 2005)
- Josh Rafferty is traded to Team Couture in another team reshuffle.
- Team Couture wins the Light Heavyweight challenge.
- Stephan Bonnar defeats Bobby Southworth in a close split decision after 2 rounds.
Episode 8: Sprawl N Brawl (Original Air Date: March 7, 2005)
- After his fight with Stephan Bonnar, Bobby Southworth and Dana White have a shouting match about Bobby’s attitude and disrespectfulness.
- Nate Quarry is eliminated from the show due to his ankle injury. Dana White asks Quarry to stay on as an assistant coach, and he agrees.
- Quarry gets to choose his replacement from the loser’s lounge, and he chooses Chris Leben.
- Team Couture wins the Middleweight challenge.
- Diego Sanchez defeats Josh Rafferty at 1:48 of the first round by rear naked choke.
Episode 9: Low Blow (Original Air Date: March 14, 2005)
- Kenny Florian is traded to Team Couture in another team reshuffle.
- Team Liddell wins the Light Heavyweight challenge.
- Sam Hoger is accused of stealing from the other competitors.
- Forrest Griffin defeats Alex Schoenauer by tap out due to strikes on the ground at 1:20 of the first round.
- During his fight with Alex Schoenauer, Forrest Griffin receives a cut above his left eye that doctors think is possibly extensive to prevent him from fighting again.
Episode 10: Middleweight Semi-Final #1 (Original Air Date: March 21, 2005)
- Forrest Griffin has to choose a Light Heavyweight fighter to come back into the house in the case he gets sent home. He chooses Bobby Southworth to return, but Bobby isn’t given the chance to fight as Forrest is cleared.
- In the first Middleweight semifinal match, Kenny Florian defeats Chris Leben at 3:11 of the second round after doctor stoppage due to opening up a cut above Chris’ eye.
Episode 11: Middleweight Semi-Final #2 (Original Air Date: March 28, 2005)
- In the second Middleweight semifinal match, Diego Sanchez wins a split decision over Josh Koscheck after three rounds.
Episode 12: Light Heavyweight Semi-Finals (Original Air Date: April 4, 2005)
- Forrest Griffin defeats Sam Hoger by TKO at 1:05 of the second round.
- Stephan Bonnar defeats Mike Swick by triangle armbar at 4:55 of the first round.
Episode 13: The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale (Original Air Date: April 9, 2005)
- Middleweight fight: Diego Sanchez vs. Kenny Florian. Sanchez wins by TKO at 2:49 of the first round, winning the TUF championship in the Middleweight division.
- Light Heavyweight fight: Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar. Griffin wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in what is described as one of the best fights in the history of the UFC. He wins the TUF championship in the Light Heavyweight division, but Dana White grants Bonnar a UFC contract as well after his performance.
Disclaimer: All season recaps of The Ultimate Fighter are re-formatted copies of content from Wikipedia.