It’s Nothing Like | ‘TUF’ Times: Sonnen Says He Turned Down Spot On ‘TUF 1,’ Jones Once Cut From Tryouts

But as successful as the 2005 array entrance proved, suppose what it could have been with a Chael P. Sonnen (27-12-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC).

Sonnen, who coaches on the arriving 17th book of the series, says he obviously incited down a mark on “TUF 1.”

“When the uncover really initial started, the initial coaches ever were my coach, friend, teammate Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, arguably the paramount light heavyweight ever,” Sonnen told ( “In fact, the evidence would be between those two: Chuck and Randy. we was only a fan. we watched it as a fan. They asked me to be on the uncover as an athlete, and we transfered on the chance. It was on a not similar network at that time, but an senior manager at that office invited me on as an athlete. Then we desired the show.

“I didn’t know what to expect. we didn’t know what it was. we sat down and watched it, and we regretted that decision. we really enjoyed examination it, and all these years later, here we am.”

Sonnen coaches conflicting UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (17-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) on “TUF 17,” that debuts in January on FX. The initial 14 seasons of the array aired on Spike TV and led to a long partnership between the free-for-all promotion and the line TV channel. UFC President Dana White has frequently referred to the array as a “Trojan horse” is to sport, with top-level athletes starring in a array that was half reality TV and half competition. Fans responded to the show, that was unlike anything on TV at the time, and the initial throw is still deliberate the many prospect-rich organisation to date.

“That initial period 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 comprehend that initial season.”

With Sonnen, it is frequently vital to take his claims with a pellet of salt, and multi-part high-ranking UFC officials certified to that they obviously couldn’t recollect either or not Sonnen’s name was deliberate is to initial book of “TUF,” that did not underline audition sessions but instead a organisation of hand-selected athletes. Still, it’s an engaging footnote in conditions of what might have been.

Since that initial series, the uncover has constructed more than 100 UFC fighters and even a couple of UFC champions. Still, many MMA pundits subject the outstanding worth of the module after 16 seasons on the air. Sonnen, who is now in Las Vegas taping “TUF 17,” insists this new book will energise what a few ponder a sleepy proposition.

“When you see the guys that don’t obtain in to the residence ” when you see the black belts and the champions and the veterans and the flat-out studs with really astounding resumes that did not obtain in to the residence ” that’s when you’re going to comprehend how installed this joint is,” Sonnen said. “The No. 1 thing that I’m going to do is we’re going to change the account of this show. This is not a frat show, and it is not a reality show. we are unaware how those conditions 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 by anything like this. The guys did a great job. The guys got me in the sport, the Don Fryes and the ‘Tank’ Abbotts, the actual fighters. But it’s nothing like a 32-man tournament. It’s nothing like having to make weight 5 times, free-for-all 5 times, have no preparation, not have your coach, not have your team, not napping in your own bed ” and be approaching to win anyway. It’s nothing like that.

“Somewhere, somebody called this a reality show, and we only don’t obtain it. So is the Super Bowl. It’s reality, and it’s a show, but we don’t obtain it. This is real. This is the realest contest ever. We have a man that mislaid his work for receiving this opportunity. He’s got a spouse and kid, and if he doesn’t win this, he doesn’t know what’s going to come about to him. we could name a couple of of those stories like that. The scapegoat that these guys are going by to put it all on the line, it’s humbling.”

Sonnen’s hostile trainer moreover had a near-miss with “The Ultimate Fighter,” despite ample after that in the show’s run. Because of the participation of ethanol in the “TUF” house, contestants contingency be at least 21 years old. Jones, who would go on to win the UFC’s 205-pound pretension at only 23 years old, was underage when he went to an open audition event and was eventually told there was no way to twist the rules.

“I attempted out for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ back when we was 20 years old,” Jones said. “I recollect creation it by the initial turn and then approaching a list to struggle is to second turn and having Dana ” we regard himself, we recollect him being at the list ” saying, ‘Man, you’re too young. You’re 20 years old, and you have to be 21 to request for this show, but we’re going to let you hurl anyways. But you can’t go ample serve than this.’ we was like, ‘Alright.’ we was rolling and having a great time, and that was it. That was the finish of the scenario.”

Jones obviously didn’t take the impugn personally, as he done his entrance is to promotion at UFC 87, reduction than a month after his 21st birthday. Now he views his purpose as trainer as a bit of a full-circle moment.

“It’s type of surreal to me to know that only four-and-a-half years ago we was perplexing out is to show, and then to be on the uncover as such a young trainer is only like, ‘Man, we’re carrying out things right,'” Jones said. “I mentioned that to my manager. we said, ‘We’re carrying out it. We’re carrying out things right.’ It’s only surreal to be a man who was deserted from the uncover and now be the coach.”

“The Ultimate Fighter 17” debuts in January on FX. Jones and Sonnen will then encounter on April 27 in a pay-per-view headliner.

For more on ” The Ultimate Fighter 17 ,” together with ” UFC in Newark: Jones vs. Sonnen ,” stay tuned to the UFC Rumors division of the site.

(Pictured: Chael Sonnen)

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