The Ultimate Fighter 23 winner Tatiana Suarez has recalled her time on the reality show, and revealed an interesting rule that was in place for contestants.
Suarez established her name in the UFC after completing a journey from the number one pick for Cláudia Gadelha’s team to the overall strawweight victor. She accomplished that feat through season wins against Chel-c Bailey, JJ Aldrich, and Kate Jackson, and a first-round submission victory over rival Amanda Cooper at the 2016 finale.
In the subsequent years, Suarez continued her dominance in the Octagon, extending her promotional record to 5-0, a slate that includes successes against Alexa Grasso and Nina Nunes, as well as now-reigning strawweight titleholder Carla Esparza.
While injuries have stalled her rise towards championship glory, keeping her on the sidelines since 2019, the 31-year-old is preparing to return to action later this year. And while discussing her impending comeback during an appearance on The Schmozone podcast, Suarez harked back to the show that brought her to the big leagues.
When asked whether her series included any extra drama beyond what was aired, Suarez recalled it being a relatively low-key season in terms of feuds, aside from her own animosity towards eventual fellow finalist Cooper.
“There was no drama in our season really. Besides the fact that I did not like Amanda Cooper, there was really no drama,” said Suarez. “There was none. The only thing that happened was in the very beginning Amanda got upset, she was like, ‘You’re going hard.’ I was like, ‘I do everything hard, what’d you want me to do?'”
It appears that was despite the producers’ best efforts.
Suarez went on to state that as well as not having access to televisions, contestants weren’t even permitted to read unless for religious purposes. That, the Californian said, was to encourage them to interact with each other and potentially produce more back and forth that could be aired.
“Yeah, you can’t watch TV, you can’t read books. Just the bible or the Quran or something. Nope, no books,” revealed Suarez. “They do it because they obviously want you to interact with each other. So, if you’re frustrated because you can’t watch TV, you go and fight with the nearest person, or just talk to the nearest person. Obviously, that makes for good TV.”
While TUF, which is largely credited for sparking the UFC’s growth, has certainly lost some of its sting and popularity in recent editions, fans will fondly remember the early days of the show and the talent it bred, even up to the 23rd season.
Suarez will look to establish herself as the show’s greatest alum when she returns to action, something she’ll go a long way to doing if she can achieve her champ-champ ambitions down the line.
What do you make of this TUF rule?