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When The Ultimate Fighter reality series launched in January of 2005, it was largely known behind the scenes as a last-ditch effort by Dana White and the Fertitta Brothers to get some mainstream traction to save the UFC from extinction. It was a multi-million dollar gamble that paid off in a big way.
The series is now 28 seasons deep in North America alone with versions in Latin America, China, and Brazil, as well.
Not only did it help save the UFC, the UFC became one of the largest sports properties in the world, recently being acquired for $4.2 billion.
That first season featured UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as coaches with a cast that included Bobby Southworth, Sam Hoger, Forrest Griffin, Alex Schoenauer, Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Lodune Sincaid, Jason Thacker, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Josh Rafferty, Nathan Quarry, Chris Leben, Alex Karalexis, and Chris Sanford. Most of those fighters went on to have careers in the sport.
The cast of that iconic first season has been brought back together in Las Vegas for a reunion.
MMAWeekly.com caught up with TUF 1 alumnus Mike Swick for an exclusive sit-down interview about half an hour before he attended the TUF Season 1 Reunion.
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Swick opened up about his experience on Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter, his feelings about the pending reunion with the other cast members of the show, and what the show did not only for the UFC, but the sport of MMA in general.