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Wanna Win TUF? What Number Should you be Picked?

Posted by Mark Figula on September 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM

By Mark Figula, The Mouth of MMA Senior Editor

Here we are, season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter is underway and the coaches have made their picks.  A particularly strong looking Michael Johnson was the subject of a wiley strategic ploy by GSP and his coaches and ends up as their first pick, even though Koscheck had won the right to make the first call.  What though, has it meant historically to be picked first or even second on TUF?  Let's take a look back and see what story the numbers tell...

  • Season 1 winners are Diego Sanchez and Forrest Griffin.  Chosen 4th and 9th, respectively.  The first two picks that initial season?  Bobby Southworth and Nate Quarry.
  • Season 2 crowns Joe Stephenson and Rashad Evans who were chosen 2nd (first of his weight class) and 9th.  Keith Jardine was the first pick.
  • Season 3 went to Kendall Grove and Michael Bisping, picked 7th and 5th.  Leading the picks were Matt Hamill and Jesse Forbes.  Matt Hamill did suffer an injury though, and may have advanced further.
  • Season 4 was the return of the veterans and there were no team picks.  Kudos to Matt Serra for winning it and for being the de facto coach of the season.
  • Season 5 brought us down to one weight class which was won by Nate Diaz.  Was Nate loved by the coaches early on?  Maybe just a tad.  He was picked 4th.  The first pick was Gray Maynard... A solid choice, obviously.
  • Season 6 saw the first pick knocked off in the first round of fights by the eventual winner, Mac Danzig who was picked 4th overall.  The first pick he sent packing? Joe Scarola.  Where is he now?
  • Season 7 saw C.B. Dollaway lead off the coaches picks but the contract went to Amir Sadollah who was - can you guess? - picked 4th.
  • Season 8 returned to the two weight class format and saw contracts handed out to Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero who were picked 2nd and 12th!  Bader was not the first in his weight class picked like Big Daddy Joe was.  The pick in front of him was Krzysztof Soszynski.
  • Season 9 there were no picks again as it was made up of predetermined teams (U.K. vs. U.S.).
  • Season 10 (The Heavywieghts!) had only one winner, the cheeseburger munching, Roy Nelson who was picked 9th.  Picked first?  James McSweeney.
  • Season 11 saw Court McGee take all the glory after being picked a meager 12th.  Nick Ring was the coaches favorite.
So, after 11 seasons of TUF and 15 contracts handed out (13 of which came in seasons with coaches picks), we have some Vegas-worthy data:
  1. Picked 4th = 4 wins
  2. Picked 9th = 3 wins
  3. Picked 12th = 2 wins
  4. Picked 2nd (Overall) = 2 wins
  5. Picked 7th = 1 win
  6. Picked 5th = 1 win
There you have it.  If you want to win The Utlimate Fighter, you probably want to be picked fourth.  You certainly don't want to be the first overall pick!  Only Joe Stephenson was the winner as a first pick in his weight class and he was still second overall.  Which brings us to the current season...

Based on our little study here, the predicted winner for TUF Season 12 is (drum roll please): Johnathan Brookins.

Time will tell.























Mark "The Ezequiel" Figula is the biggest wuss to ever enter a cage... the most spindly chickenass dude to ever tap out at NAGA... the boy who was told that the pen is mightier than the sword... and thus he writes. Check out his home page of scribblings at

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