Upon the return of The Ultimate Fighter in June, look back at three of the most controversial moments in the history of the show.
After nearly a three-year hiatus and the introduction of Dana White’s Contender Series, The Ultimate Fighter will finally make its return to television beginning in June. The two headlining coaches, Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will coach middleweights and bantamweights in a quest to earn a six-figure UFC contract.
While the fights dictate how the season will progress, the intense drama and build-up to each fight at the end of every episode are unmatched, which has led to a fair share of controversial moments throughout the show’s history.
Here are three moments that stand out from the 28 seasons thus far.
Junie Browning gets “beat off” of TUF 8 by Efrain Escudero
Long-time viewers of the show remember season eight, which was coached by former UFC heavyweight champion, Frank Mir, and former PRIDE FC legend, Antonio Nogueira. The season featured light heavyweights and lightweights, as Efrain Escudero and current Bellator mainstay, Ryan Bader, took home contracts at the end of the season.
Prior to the finale, however, is what fans remember most. One of Mir’s contestants, Junie Browning, enjoyed picking fights with fellow team members and fighters on the opposite team, leading to potential injury of the other contestants. It got so bad that Dana White had to be called into the house to address Browning’s actions.
In a shocking turn of events, White gave Browning numerous chances to remain on the show, which led to Browning being allowed to advance to the semifinals. After having a back patio meeting, White and the rest of the contestants felt that Browning should compete in his semifinal fight instead of kicking him off the show.
Browning would eventually lose to Escudero and would never find success in the UFC or MMA for the rest of his career.
Noah Inhofer leaves TUF 3 cast because of his then-girlfriend
Noah Inhofer was the fifth pick for Tito Ortiz’s team and was thought to be one of Ortiz’s most highly-touted prospects. After defeating Jesse Forbes by submission during episode two, Inhofer had a bad feeling that his girlfriend was cheating on him. With no access to the outside world, Inhofer was overwhelmed and asked to leave the show.
The decision upset White and Ortiz, as they tried to keep him on the show, but to no avail. Kendall Grove and Michael Bisping would eventually win the show in their respective weight classes, as Bisping went on to win the middleweight championship.
Kimbo Slice joins the TUF 10 cast
In a season that featured only heavyweights, Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans led a cast that featured Matt Mitrione, Brendan Schaub, and, of course, Kevin Ferguson (better known as Kimbo Slice). Ferguson was a YouTube sensation that became famous after a series of videos went viral showcasing him knocking people out in alleys and backyards.
White was adamant that he would not sign Slice to a contract unless he went through TUF. After turning professional in Nov. 2007, Ferguson went 3-1 before joining the TUF cast to the surprise of many media members and fans.
Ferguson would go 1-1 in the UFC, as his lone win was against Houston Alexander. He would eventually have a brief stint in Bellator before dying of a heart attack in 2016.
TUF has delivered some memorable and controversial moments over the years, as the calendar looks ahead to season 29.
The Ultimate Fighter will begin airing on June 1 and can be watched on ESPN+. Please follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live news and highlights.