At first, when The Ultimate Fighter began to lose some of its luster, the common refrain was that there were fighters on their who weren’t particularly good at their job. Maybe they couldn’t strike, maybe they couldn’t grapple, or maybe they couldn’t even cut weight. Whatever it was, like the weakest link in a chain, they were bringing the value of being a TUF competitor down.
Then it was all about how being a TUF winner no longer meant you were that good. The Jonathan Brookins, Kendall Groves and Mac Danzigs of the world – with their utterly craptastic performances in the Octagon against mid-level fighters – made sure that the value of winning the reality show plummeted.
And now, with the announcement of Kevlin Gastelum and Efrain Escudero as coaches on an upcoming season of TUF: Latin America, the value of being a coach on the show is worth about as much as being a homeless man.
Here’s MMAJunkie with some perspective:
Gastelum won “TUF 17″ in 2013 after earning a split-decision victory over Uriah Hall in the show’s tournament final. It kicked off an impressive 5-0 start to the 23-year-old’s UFC career, which helped earn him his current No. 14 spot in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie welterweight rankings. However, prior to a split-decision defeat to Tyron Woodley in his most recent bout, Gastelum badly missed weight for the fight (weighing 180 pounds) and has been forced to move up to middleweight.
Meanwhile, Escudero, who’s currently in his third stint with the UFC, won “TUF 8″ in 2008 after earning a decision victory over Phillipe Nover in the tourney final. The 29-year-old lightweight and nine-year pro recently scored a decision victory over Rodrigo Lima this past month. He’s now 5-2 over his past seven fights.
So let’s boil this down to basic math. Winning TUF + missing weight multiple times + losing your last fight = being a TUF coach. Also, Winning TUF + sucking so bad you get cut from the UFC twice (!) = being a TUF coach.
Yeah, being a TUF coach is worth nothing now.