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Thread: 'TUF' times: Sonnen says he turned down spot on 'TUF 1,' Jones once cut from tryout

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    Default 'TUF' times: Sonnen says he turned down spot on 'TUF 1,' Jones once cut from tryout



    'TUF' times: Sonnen says he turned down spot on 'TUF 1,' Jones once cut from tryouts

    The debut season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' has long been recognized as the starting point of MMA's current popularity boom and was responsible for launching the careers of stars such as Stephan Bonnar, Kenny Florian, Forrest Griffin, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez and Mike Swick.

    But as successful as the 2005 series debut proved, imagine what it could have been with one Chael P. Sonnen (27-12-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC).

    Sonnen, who coaches on the upcoming 17th edition of the series, says he actually turned down a spot on "TUF 1."

    "When the show very first started, the first coaches ever were my coach, friend, teammate Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, arguably the greatest light heavyweight ever," Sonnen told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com). "In fact, the argument would be between those two: Chuck and Randy. I was just a fan. I watched it as a fan. They asked me to be on the show as an athlete, and I passed on the chance. It was on a different network at that time, but an executive at that office invited me on as an athlete. Then I loved the show.

    "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it was. I sat down and watched it, and I regretted that decision. I really enjoyed watching it, and all these years later, here I am."

    Sonnen coaches opposite UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (17-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) on "TUF 17," which debuts in January on FX. The first 14 seasons of the series aired on Spike TV and led to a long partnership between the fight promotion and the cable TV channel. UFC President Dana White has often referred to the series as a "Trojan horse" for the sport, with top-level athletes starring in a series that was half reality TV and half competition. Fans responded to the show, which was unlike anything on TV at the time, and the first cast is still considered the most prospect-rich group to date.

    "That first season was nasty," Sonnen said. "You've got guys like Nate Quarry that didn't win it, and look how great he is. You've got guys like Josh Koscheck that did not win it. Stephan Bonnar. Kenny Florian. These guys didn't win it, and that's when you can really understand that first season."

    With Sonnen, it is often necessary to take his claims with a grain of salt, and multiple high-ranking UFC officials admitted to MMAjunkie.com that they actually couldn't remember whether or not Sonnen's name was considered for the first edition of "TUF," which did not feature tryout sessions but instead a group of hand-selected athletes. Still, it's an interesting footnote in terms of what might have been.

    Since that first series, the show has produced more than 100 UFC fighters and even a few UFC champions. Still, many MMA pundits question the remaining value of the program after 16 seasons on the air. Sonnen, who is currently in Las Vegas taping "TUF 17," insists this new edition will reinvigorate what some consider a tired proposition.

    "When you see the guys that don't get into the house – when you see the black belts and the champions and the veterans and the flat-out studs with very incredible resumes that did not get into the house – that's when you're going to understand how loaded this bracket is," Sonnen said. "The No. 1 thing that I'm going to do is we're going to change the narrative of this show. This is not a frat show, and it is not a reality show. I don't know how those terms ever got coined. This is a tournament, period.

    "All the way back to the greats – Royce Gracie and Dan Severn and Ken 'Never Should Have Been in the Octagon in the First Place' Shamrock – they never went through anything like this. Those guys did a great job. Those guys got me in the sport, the Don Fryes and the 'Tank' Abbotts, the real fighters. But it's nothing like a 32-man tournament. It's nothing like having to make weight five times, fight five times, have no preparation, not have your coach, not have your team, not sleeping in your own bed – and be expected to win anyway. It's nothing like that.

    "Somewhere, somebody called this a reality show, and I just don't get it. So is the Super Bowl. It's reality, and it's a show, but I don't get it. This is real. This is the realest tournament ever. We have a guy that lost his job for taking this opportunity. He's got a wife and kid, and if he doesn't win this, he doesn't know what's going to happen to him. I could name a few of those stories like that. The sacrifice that these guys are going through to put it all on the line, it's humbling."

    Sonnen's opposing coach also had a near-miss with "The Ultimate Fighter," albeit much later in the show's run. Because of the presence of alcohol in the "TUF" house, contestants must be at least 21 years old. Jones, who would go on to win the UFC's 205-pound title at just 23 years old, was underage when he went to an open tryout session and was ultimately told there was no way to bend the rules.

    "I tried out for 'The Ultimate Fighter' back when I was 20 years old," Jones said. "I remember making it through the first round and then approaching a table to grapple for the second round and having Dana – I think himself, I remember him being at the table – saying, 'Man, you're too young. You're 20 years old, and you have to be 21 to apply for this show, but we're going to let you roll anyways. But you can't go much further than this.' I was like, 'Alright.' I was rolling and having a great time, and that was it. That was the end of the scenario."

    Jones obviously didn't take the snub personally, as he made his debut for the promotion at UFC 87, less than one month after his 21st birthday. Now he views his role as coach as a bit of a full-circle moment.

    "It's kind of surreal to me to know that just four-and-a-half years ago I was trying out for the show, and then to be on the show as such a young coach is just like, 'Man, we're doing things right,'" Jones said. "I said that to my manager. I said, 'We're doing it. We're doing things right.' It's just surreal to be a guy who was rejected from the show and now be the coach."
    'TUF' times: Sonnen says he turned down spot on 'TUF 1,' Jones once cut from tryouts | MMAjunkie.com

  2. Default Chael Sonnen says he turned down TUF 1 spot, Jon Jones was once cut from tryouts

    Chael Sonnen says he turned down TUF 1 spot, Jon Jones was once cut from tryouts - Bloody Elbow

    A lot of what Chael Sonnen says isn't exactly the truth, so you learn to take his statements with a grain of salt. A recent statement about his pseudo-experience with The Ultimate Fighter is probably one of his tall tales, but who knows? He actually told MMA Junkie that he turned down a spot on the original Ultimate Fighter show:

    "When the show very first started, the first coaches ever were my coach, friend, teammate Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, arguably the greatest light heavyweight ever," Sonnen told MMA Junkie. "In fact, the argument would be between those two: Chuck and Randy. I was just a fan. I watched it as a fan. They asked me to be on the show as an athlete, and I passed on the chance. It was on a different network at that time, but an executive at that office invited me on as an athlete. Then I loved the show.

    "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it was. I sat down and watched it, and I regretted that decision. I really enjoyed watching it, and all these years later, here I am."
    Magically, no UFC staffer could remember Chael being named as a candidate.Meanwhile, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones actually tried out for a season once, but was told he was too young:

    "I tried out for 'The Ultimate Fighter' back when I was 20 years old," Jones said. "I remember making it through the first round and then approaching a table to grapple for the second round and having Dana – I think himself, I remember him being at the table – saying, 'Man, you're too young. You're 20 years old, and you have to be 21 to apply for this show, but we're going to let you roll anyways. But you can't go much further than this.' I was like, 'Alright.' I was rolling and having a great time, and that was it. That was the end of the scenario."

    "It's kind of surreal to me to know that just four-and-a-half years ago I was trying out for the show, and then to be on the show as such a young coach is just like, 'Man, we're doing things right,'" Jones said. "I said that to my manager. I said, 'We're doing it. We're doing things right.' It's just surreal to be a guy who was rejected from the show and now be the coach."
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    LOL seriously Dana rejected him only because he was 1 year younger?? pfff what a joke.
    I would understand if Jones was 15 years old, then It's Ok. At that age you are not completely developped yet. But to say "We will not accept you because you have to be 21 years old and you are just 20!" ridiculous!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasha K View Post
    LOL seriously Dana rejected him only because he was 1 year younger?? pfff what a joke.
    I would understand if Jones was 15 years old, then It's Ok. At that age you are not completely developped yet. But to say "We will not accept you because you have to be 21 years old and you are just 20!" ridiculous!
    Dana didn't reject him, it was Zuffa and their lawyers who did. Do you know how horrible it would be for UFC to be associated with underage drinking on a TV show? The censors would have cut any scene with Jones and alcohol together which is 99% of the TUF house footage. Factor in also that the UFC provides all the food/alcohol to the house and they could potentially get in trouble to supplying alcohol to a minor. Doesn't really seem that ridiculous when you stop and think about it before posting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasha K View Post
    LOL seriously Dana rejected him only because he was 1 year younger?? pfff what a joke.
    I would understand if Jones was 15 years old, then It's Ok. At that age you are not completely developped yet. But to say "We will not accept you because you have to be 21 years old and you are just 20!" ridiculous!
    You really just want to hate on Dana/ZUFFA today
    Jones Era >> Machida Era
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasha K View Post
    LOL seriously Dana rejected him only because he was 1 year younger?? pfff what a joke.
    I would understand if Jones was 15 years old, then It's Ok. At that age you are not completely developped yet. But to say "We will not accept you because you have to be 21 years old and you are just 20!" ridiculous!
    You're a moron.

    It has nothing to do with being fully developed. Did you even read the article?

    Because of the presence of alcohol in the "TUF" house, contestants must be at least 21 years old. Jones, who would go on to win the UFC's 205-pound title at just 23 years old, was underage when he went to an open tryout session and was ultimately told there was no way to bend the rules.
    So Federal US law states that the minimum drinking age is 21. Zuffa PROVIDES the house and the contestants with alcohol. Why in the FUCK would Zuffa even considering having a minor in that house and then AIRING IT ON TV? That's just begging for a legal shit storm....


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    Quote Originally Posted by BlunTForcE View Post
    You're a moron.

    It has nothing to do with being fully developed. Did you even read the article?



    So Federal US law states that the minimum drinking age is 21. Zuffa PROVIDES the house and the contestants with alcohol. Why in the FUCK would Zuffa even considering having a minor in that house and then AIRING IT ON TV? That's just begging for a legal shit storm....

    It says no where in the article about needing to be drinking age... It states the show required participants to be 21...

    What does alcohol have to do with MMA anyways?

    So I think Pasha was right in his criticism... Maybe Zuffa should have made it a legit show about developing mma talent and not over looked possibly one of the greatest fighters of our time to instead go the trashy reality tv route.
    Last edited by Cat--Smasher; 11-25-2012 at 09:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat--Smasher View Post
    It says no where in the article about needing to be drinking age... It states the show required participants to be 21...
    From the article:

    Because of the presence of alcohol in the "TUF" house, contestants must be at least 21 years old.
    Quote Originally Posted by KevoOnTheRadio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cat--Smasher View Post
    Either that or some cooter-crabs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnchorPunch View Post
    From the article:

    I stand corrected.

    Lets hope the new Bellator tv show is less about 'reality' and more about the sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat--Smasher View Post
    It says no where in the article about needing to be drinking age... It states the show required participants to be 21... What does alcohol have to do with MMA anyways?

    So I think Pasha was right in his criticism... Maybe Zuffa should have made it a legit show about developing mma talent and not over looked possibly one of the greatest fighters of our time to instead go the trashy reality tv route.
    ZUFFa also has alcohol company sponsors. I don't think it's possible to work for the UFC if you are under 21, because all fighters represent the drink sponsors. Alcohol companies can't sponsor minors.
    Jones Era >> Machida Era
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