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The Ultimate Fighter 1 Reunion recap

LAS VEGAS – There was frequently three, four and five men speaking at once, which shouldn't be all that surprising if you knew anything about this gang.

Eight members of the cast of the inaugural season of "The Ultimate Fighter" gathered Friday at the UFC training center to reminisce about their experiences on the show and the impact it had on their lives.

There were poignant moments, such as when Nate Quarry talked about finally having money to allow his 8-year-old daughter, Ciera, to buy what she wanted in a store, or when Chris Leben told the group he is sober and no longer drinking alcohol.

Leben's admission prompted applause from his cast mates.

But when Joe Rogan, who was serving as the master of ceremonies, asked the kind of question that only he would ask, there was silence in the room. Heads turned left and right looking to see if anyone was brave enough to tackle this one.

"If you're in a relationship you want out of, now is the time to speak up," Stephan Bonnar shouted, laughing.

When no one was willing to talk, Rogan called them "a bunch of (expletives)."

Rogan had asked how much better they did with the women after being part of the show.

Forrest Griffin, now the UFC's light heavyweight champion, broke the tension by shouting, "Hey, I don't know about you guys, but I was doing pretty good with the women before."

After three hours of taping by Spike TV on Friday, it was clear that the show impacted the men who were on it as much, if not more, than it did the UFC.

The UFC would likely no longer exist were it not for the show in general and the light heavyweight finale between Griffin and Bonnar in particular. UFC president Dana White, who calls the Griffin-Bonnar fight the most important in the company's history, signed a deal to renew the series in an alley behind the Las Vegas arena where the fight was held on April 9, 2005.

"Without that night, everything this thing has become would not have been possible," Rogan said.

The first season will be replayed in the fall, and short clips from Friday's reunion will be inserted into the shows.

As Rogan was making the point how the show had changed so much for so many in the room, he acknowledged Griffin, who won the light heavyweight title on July 5 with a victory over Quinton Jackson.

Griffin isn't much for ceremony and was clearly uncomfortable when others talked about his championship. When Rogan said, "You're the champ, Dude," Griffin shrugged, made a crooked face and said, "Well, at least until my next fight."

Mike Swick said he had been involved in martial arts most of his life, but was not able to make a living at it prior to being on TUF. He said he had a pressure-washing company, but was always frustrated because his clients would never be satisfied.

He would arrive and point out he'd be able to clean the driveway, but the oil stains wouldn't come up.

"After I would finish, they'd come out and the oil stains were still there and they'd be all angry about it and I'd have to talk to them and then lower the bill," he said.

He focuses full time on his fighting career now as a result of the notoriety he gained from being in the cast. Still, though, he receives an occasional call from someone who wants to hire him to clean their driveway.

One of the day's funniest moments came when Swick and Chris Leben argued about whether Leben had ducked Swick. The two had fought prior to being on The Ultimate Fighter in a memorable WEC bout that Leben won.

During filming of the show Swick managed to get Leben to sign a piece of paper agreeing to a rematch. Later, Swick's management team reminded UFC matchmaker Joe Silva of Leben's promise.

Swick seemed irritated Friday when he recalled the incident and asked Leben why he agreed to fight Terry Martin instead of giving him the promised rematch. Swick was he was told by his management that a deal was being discussed with Silva and Leben's managers.

Leben, though, seemed perplexed to hear about it and said he never turned down a fight. Finally, to settle the dispute, White turned on his cellular telephone and called Silva. White told him Silva was taping a TV show and would put the phone on speaker so everyone could hear his answer.

Silva confirmed that the bout was discussed with Leben's management, but the managers wanted to go for a fight with Martin.

The tension was settled, though, when it was obvious that Leben had no idea about the fight.

"Man, I don't get into any of that and that's why I'm not on the computer or anything," Leben said. "All I do is get into the gym and work and when they have a fight, they tell me. I fight anyone."

The group teased Bobby Southworth about how much he weighed when he arrived for taping. Southworth conceded he weighed 237 and had to get to 205, but he joined the cast on just 12 days' notice.

Bonnar pointed out that Southworth, whom the fighters were jokingly referring to as "Dad" on Friday, made a big impact in the house. When he was gone, there was trash everywhere. Southworth had picked up after everyone.

"After Bobby left the house, the place was disgusting," Bonnar said. "Nobody picked up anything."

Leben told a story of how he'd been suckered by Florian. He showed Florian one of his best moves, then found out the two were fighting the next day.

Sure enough, early in the second round, Florian tried the move.

"Guy used my own move on me," Leben said, as Florian bent over laughing.

They shared stories of Bonnar's battle with staph infection and his escape through a tiny bathroom window to go out to buy alcohol.

They teased Diego Sanchez, who won the middleweight division and now fights at lightweight, about his duffel bag he carried that was filled with supplements and how wacky he acted during the show.

"I am wacky," Sanchez said, drawing more laughs.

Nobody seemed to enjoy the gathering more than White, who came up with the idea for the reality series in a last-ditch attempt to save the UFC. The company had lost $44 million in a little more than three years since White and partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased it from original owners Semaphore Entertainment for $2 million in 2001.

The Fertittas picked up the entire cost of the production, including buying the air time. Even as the show was being filmed, no one, including White, was quite sure whether it would air.

The show succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations.

During a break in taping, White looked around the room, where the fights during the show are filmed, and shook his head.

"It's amazing to think," he said, softly, "how close we came to not being here today. If it weren't for what these guys did, I don't know if there would even be a UFC. I'll never forget these guys.

"Ever." Discussions

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RyanHobbs on Aug 31, 2008 at 8:36 am ET
Woah this already happened? I can't believe I missed it. I want to watch these reunions.  That is cool that they are doing this.

Rampage711 on Aug 31, 2008 at 8:42 am ET
You didnt miss anything. They havent aired it yet. Will probably around the time TUF 8 begins. Should be fun to watch though.

RyanHobbs on Aug 31, 2008 at 8:43 am ET
oh cool. Thanks for the heads up. I guess this is a spoiler or something?

bmac on Aug 31, 2008 at 9:20 am ET
The first season will be replayed in the fall, and short clips from Friday's reunion will be inserted into the shows.


RyanHobbs on Aug 31, 2008 at 8:42 am ET
This sounds like a great reunion. I'm glad the Swick Leben thing got cleared up. 

MMAuthority on Aug 31, 2008 at 9:05 am ET

Yeah I want to watch this as well.. However I picked up ona few things in the article Junkie..

Diego does not fight at "lightweight". He is too big & fights at WW. to my knowledge he is fighting Alves in Chicago ??? Or did I miss something that wasnt posted and that bout cancelled ??

just thought I would point that out..




CANTSEEME on Aug 31, 2008 at 11:44 pm ET
i think what the article is trying to say that the group got a laugh at diego because he beat florian in the finale at middleweight who now fights at lightweight... i could be wrong but that's what i get from reading it...

nickd on Aug 31, 2008 at 9:49 am ET
Where was Jason Thacker????

makinal on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:43 am ET
i was wondering the same thing

ThatsRowdy on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:47 am ET
haha Strange Brew...

ShadowBoxer24 on Aug 31, 2008 at 11:05 am ET
I thought it was hilarious when at the finale Bruce Buffer announced him as Jason "Strange Brew" Thacker.

Drksan on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:51 pm ET
Sitting left of Chris Leben?

riot on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:19 am ET
this was such a great season.   i'm not afraid to admit it, other than a few clips of shamrock and tank when i was a little kid, i didn't know about MMA, just because it wasnt on television. i caught the second or third episode of TUF (since it was right after wwe raw) and man, i was immediately hooked.  i then went to blockbuster and rented all the old ppv dvd's i could, and was counting down the days until couture-liddell 2.  since then, i haven't missed a PPV yet.  

bababooeey on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:41 am ET
Nobody seemed to enjoy the gathering more than White, who came up with the idea for the reality series in a last-ditch attempt to save the UFC.............

Not sure how anyone can hate on the man who brought MMA to where it is today. Without his ideas we would be watching a few matches here and there on youtube.

Nouvelle on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:59 am ET
Dana White did NOT come up with the idea for TUF. Kevin Iole is an idiot.  Not only did Dana White not come up with the idea, HE DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO DO IT.

The Fertita's are the ones who came up with the idea for TUF, after they did a reality show for their casinos called American Casinos.  When they told Dana about doing it, he didn't want to do it, and he says so in this video:

contraman24 on Aug 31, 2008 at 12:11 pm ET
wow who give a sh*t, kevin iole is the devil.  he is part of the zuffa propaganda machine.  boy i sure do love yellow journalism, and you suckers buy into it. 

OverThere on Aug 31, 2008 at 12:25 pm ET
boy i sure do love yellow journalism,

It's obvious that you don't even know what "yellow journalism" is. It has nothing to do with this story.

Cash on Aug 31, 2008 at 12:22 pm ET
"They teased Diego Sanchez, who won the middleweight division and now fights at lightweight, about his duffel bag he carried that was filled with supplements and how wacky he acted during the show. "

HMMMMM, Kevin, when did Diego fight at lightweight????????????????????

I seem to recall him fighting at WW oh well, I must not follow the sport...

kam300 on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:49 pm ET
Congrats you caught a mistake in an article.... WOW, Give the man a feakin medal.

OverThere on Aug 31, 2008 at 12:30 pm ET
The story says eight guys were in attendance.

ATTENDING: Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Mike Swick, Nate Quarry, Chris Leben and Bobby Southworth

NOT ATTENDING: Sam Hoger, Jason Thacker, Josh Rafferty, Lodune Sincaid, Chris Sanford, Alex Karalexis, Alex Schoenauer and... JOSH KOSCHECK.

I can understand why they wouldn't have invited the other seven guys since they really don't have connection with UFC anymore (except Schoenauer, who Junkie said is coming back), but does anyone else find it odd that they didn't invite Koscheck to this thing?

I wonder why they left Kos.

Jose on Aug 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm ET
I have no knowledge of this affair, but I can't imagine that they purposely decided to exclude Koscheck. One could assume that he had a conflict that didn't allow him to be there.

fightfan on Aug 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm ET
I am surprised that Southworth was there.....With him with Strikeforce and all.  Koscheck not being there is strange???  With the way White is with , any other promotion other than the UFC, I am so surprised that Southworth is there....even though White does not trash Strikeforce.

That is like free advertising for Strikeforce

PP on Aug 31, 2008 at 4:10 pm ET
Koscheck was there according to Mike Swicks myspace......

We filmed a TUF 1 reunion show today in Vegas for Spike TV. I think it went well. The only original cast they used was Griffin, Bonnar, Florian, Quarry, Leben, Southworth, Sanchez, Koscheck and myself. I think it’s going to air the day TUF 8 starts. Joe Rogan was the host and Dana was on hand as well. Overall there was a lot of funny stuff brought up so I think you guys will like it!


faybio on Aug 31, 2008 at 4:19 pm ET
It's possible that Kos was invited, but declined to appear. 

darkmetal on Sep 01, 2008 at 8:52 am ET
I suspect that Koschek didn't attend because I am sure that either Diego Sanchez or Chris Leben would want to punch his lights out on the spot.  I don't think Zuffa wanted a confrontation on a show that was intended to be one of "good feelings" when "Kos" is not a good feelings guy.

Misfits1977 on Aug 31, 2008 at 1:01 pm ET
Now that Swick and Leben are in the same weight class I truly would love to see that fight.Also they said Diego was now a lightweight????Did I miss something,he's pretty damn big for a welterweight.I'm sure its just a journalistic screw up but stranger things have happened...F*#k Rampage and bababooey2yaz

Jose on Aug 31, 2008 at 1:07 pm ET
They are not in the same weight class anymore. When this show was filmed, Leben fought at 185 and Swick at 205. Afterwards, Swick dropped to 185 where Leben still remained, and that is the time when this controversy regarding the turned down fight and Terry Martin came in. However, an anorexic-lookingSwick is now fighting at 170, where he has beaten Josh Burkman and Marcus Davis.

victorpoprock on Aug 31, 2008 at 1:39 pm ET
I wonder if Randy and Chuck were there?

Misfits1977 on Aug 31, 2008 at 2:00 pm ET
damn you're right Jose,how could I forget I saw both of those fights

Jose on Aug 31, 2008 at 2:07 pm ET
I offer you my condolences for watching the extremely unwatchable Swick vs. Burkman, which I am still trying to forget. Swick vs. Davis was pretty good, though.

johnnydp27 on Aug 31, 2008 at 2:31 pm ET
Long live the UFC

rickdawg698 on Aug 31, 2008 at 3:14 pm ET
imagine no ufc, life would be a little more boring

Outbreakmonkey on Aug 31, 2008 at 9:46 pm ET
Yeah wouldn't life be terrible if all the best fighters in the UFC were free agents instead of tied to one organisation.
Wouldn't it be terrible if we could see BJ vs Gomi, or Fedor vs Couture.

GOAT on Sep 01, 2008 at 8:20 am ET
BJ Penn already fought Gomi and beat him.

lc8762 on Sep 01, 2008 at 2:12 pm ET
Theres always college football,when you have no fighting to watch!GO SOONERS!

John on Sep 01, 2008 at 3:12 pm ET
You're NUTS! GO UC!

twanler on Aug 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm ET
Come on now we all know that diego fights at WELTERWEIGHT not lightweight.

Sans_Peur on Aug 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm ET
Hey guys... doesn't Diego Sanchez fight at welterweight, not lightweight?

I kid, I kid... but seriously, like fifty bajilion of y'all have felt the need to point it out. There was a typo. It happens. We got it already.

Mike_K on Aug 31, 2008 at 5:35 pm ET
Welterweight to Lightweight? That's one hell of a typo :D

jdavis on Aug 31, 2008 at 9:50 pm ET
Not really; a hell of a typo would of been welterweight to macaroni salad but accidentally typing welterweight instead of lightweight isn't that huge of a mistake the guy just wrote the wrong weight class down.

Misfits1977 on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:18 pm ET
I heard Urijah Faber is moving from featherweight to macaroni salad hopefully he will get to fight Tyson Griffin who may be moving from macaroni salad to mushroom and swiss cheeseburger

BigDaveyB on Sep 02, 2008 at 8:50 am ET

uutsii on Aug 31, 2008 at 11:30 pm ET
whoa.............. to quote a earlier comment... this will be interesting, season one that was somthing i acually miss some of the stuff from the 1st one.... i liked how their was so much more filming in the house seing their antics... a trade off i guess cause now we have much more xciting fights the sheer volume of them translates into less house footage.... i also liked the challenges... would be nice if they would sneak those into a show for somthing maybe determine the 1st fight pick or somthing....or the 1st draft.... instead of a coin let it be determoned by the fighters.... one was awsome seven was awsome.... so many 1st in season 7 fight ur way in the house, the one sent home due to illness, the coach banging up the gym, jess getting the boot after the show and the rematch in the finnalle....
somthing about forrest just makes stuff xciting hope amir too one day getys a chance to be coach...
so many tough guys came outta season one.... FORREST, LEBAN, FLORIAN, BONNAR, SWICK, SANCHEZ, QUARRY AND KOS... after all these years these guys are still standouts.....looking forward to the airing of this reunion...................... ONE QUESTION were the coaches present

s00nertp on Sep 01, 2008 at 3:21 am ET
I love these shows. I have been an MMA fan since a saw "Choke" that starred Rickson Gracie. In all the shows I have watched, nothing taught me more about the fighter lifestyle as TUF.

I love hearing about the fighter's, and welcome any forums where we can hear more.


DJM1983 on Sep 02, 2008 at 9:03 pm ET
they will be showing this on spike all day on september 13 starting at 9am i cant wait for this.

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