clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

'The Ultimate Fighter 1' Reunion Special Recap

The UFC recently gathered together members of the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter" for a reunion special, which aired Saturday throughout the season one marathon on Spike TV.

If you weren't able to sit through the fifteen straight hours of "The Ultimate Fighter 1" marathon, has the recap for you.

The show was hosted by Joe Rogan sitting next to UFC president Dana White. On the panel were Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Kenny Florian, Mike Swick, Nate Quarry, Chris Leben, Bobby Southworth, Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck.

Southworth, the current Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ, was the only fighter not under UFC contract invited to the reunion.

"It's kinda like boot camp," Leben said on whether he was happy being on the show. "You only want to do it once. I'm glad I did it once, but I sure wouldn't want to go and do it again though."

Sanchez looked back at the first night and playfully asked who knew that coaches Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture were going to walk in on them drinking and partying.

Griffin jumped in saying: "I knew it was going to happen. I wasn't drinking. I was like, does this feel like a setup to anyone else?"

Rogan asks Leben if he ever felt bad about peeing on Jason Thacker's bed.

"I do and I don't," Leben joked. "Truth be told, everyone has peed somewhere they shouldn't have."

White shared a story about how Florian got on the show. White saw a 3-0 Florian take on an experienced Drew Fickett at a show in Boston, and was so impressed with Florian that he invited Florian to interview. Florian would end up making it to the finals before losing to Sanchez.

Griffin said was retired from MMA and had to be talked into joining the cast. Rogan was quick to point out that Griffin is now the UFC light-heavyweight champion. And in typical Griffin fashion, the former police officer modestly joked: "Yea, but it was an accident. Tripped, slipped, fell down and there was a belt. I was like, what the hell happened?"

For Southworth, he wasn't mentally and physically read to cut 21 pounds and said if it weren't for the help from Koscheck and Liddell, he wouldn't have made weight.

White shared the story behind the "do you want to be a f*c#in' fighter?" speech. White had overheard a fighter tell a producer that he wasn't going to fight if he wasn't getting paid. At the time White didn't know if the show was even going to air (UFC completely funded the first season of the show), so he came into the gym to find out who was going to fight.

Southworth admitted he "wanted to be a f?kin' fighter, just not a f?kin' free fighter."

Rogan asked what the fighters did before becoming Ultimate Fighters.
Leben said he did it all: "I'd used to cut grass at a graveyard, I sold cars, I was a helicopter mechanic in the army, f?kin' painted houses, did construction. Wherever the money was at. Whatever was easy."

Koscheck was a wrestling coach at the University at Buffalo and loved. He thought he was going to become a head wrestling coach somewhere.

Griffin worked as a police officer and Florian worked for a translation agency.

Swick had pressure-washing business, which he still gets phone calls about from an ad he placed in the phonebook. "I like though, I'm like 'I can't really do it, I'm kinda busy, but I'll refer you to someone else,'" Swick said to big laughs.

Southworth said Leben is his best friend after everything that's happened on the show.

"Yes, yes, constantly," Southworth answered when asked if he feels bad for calling Leben a "fatherless bastard" on the show.

"My thing is that I never cut people slack for the stupid s?t people do when they're drunk. And so I don't cut myself any slack. It was stupid. I apologized to him. It's not like you get a take back when you do something like that."

"Hindsight is 20/20," Leben added. "Obviously it made for some excellent TV, but I learned a lot about myself from the show and some of the events that took place. They caused me to grow a whole bunch as a person. So now, I wouldn't take it back. I think in a lot of ways Bobby helped me out."

Everyone agreed that Koscheck vs. Leben had the most drama. Leben tells the story of fighting with no knuckle.

Bonnar said his most memorable unaired moment was when he pretended to take a shower -- for four hours -- to sneak alcohol into the house.

Leben talked about showing "one of his patented left hand secret moves" to Florian and getting hit with it by Florian at their fight two days after.

"He obviously, he had it down real good," Leben said. "I taught him pretty good, cause when we fought, right in the beginning of the second round, first thing, Bang! Just cracks me right with my own move!"

Leben received 27 stitches in that fight from Florian's now trademark elbows.

Everyone said Sanchez vs. Koscheck was the most memorable fight on the show.

"I never had experienced anything like that," said Koscheck, who went to the hospital for exhaustion after the fight. "You want something so bad and you just keep going, keep going, keep going?"

"And even between us watching" Bonnar said. "We weren't sure who won. Kenny's going 'I think Koscheck won,' and I'm like 'No, I think Diego won,' so it was just a good back and forth close fight."

The fighters generally appeared happy to reunite and talk about their past experiences on the show, but there was one segment that came off less than cordial -- when Swick claimed that Leben turned down a rematch offer.

"When was the opportunity?" Leben asked. "When were we going to fight?"

Swick replied: "When they sent you a contract that said 'will you fight Mike Swick at Fight Night?' and you said 'no, I'll fight Terry Martin.'"

To end the dispute, White made a phone call on the spot to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who said on speakerphone: "Yes, I did actually try to make that fight and it was turned down by?Chris Leben's camp."

Leben immediately went on the defensive.

"My job is to show up and fight whoever they put in front of me. That's my camp's job to take care of it. It's not my job. It doesn't matter! I'm going to keep proving you wrong and keep winning. And that's all I gotta do. Winning! Winning! Winning!"

Rogan asks who felt they got f?k over the most during editing.

"They definitely paint their own picture, that's for sure," Leben said smiling. "Yeah, they made me look like a dick sometimes, huh."

Bonnar and Griffin talked about their finale fight.

"Since day one that's what we were there for, the contract, everyone wanted the contract," Bonnar said. "So when they said the decision it was like 'Aww! It hurt so bad' and then [the UFC] said 'hey, we're giving you the contract,' then it just erased the pain and the decision."

"I still got the car, though," Griffin added.

Bonnar played along: "That hurt though, cause I needed a car at that time."

Rogan closed the show by saying it's been an honor and called the cast "the heart and soul of ultimate fighting."