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The Ultimate Fighter
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, 16 extreme martial arts experts battle it out to see who will come out on top -- and win a six-figure contract in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Each week, viewers watch two teams of competitors (who have included fan faves like Matt Serra and Shonie Carter) work with guest trainers such as Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, and Mark DellaGrotte. The athletes must hone their skills before the fights that end every episode (each fight consists of two 5-minute rounds and takes place in the UFC Octagon). After the fight-ending bell rings, the winner stays, and the loser is sent packing. In the season finale, one fighter from each weight class (welterweight and middleweight) wins the contract -- and a shot at the next Ultimate Fighting Championship title.
Is it any good?
While mixed martial arts enthusiasts may tune in for the episode-ending match-ups, they'll come away with a greater appreciation for the sport and the competitors. That's because the show's producers do a nice job of humanizing the men involved. Viewers find out what got them into the sport, how hard they train -- and, what's more, they get to see the guys' vulnerable sides after they experience difficult workouts and defeat in the ring.
That said, the matches can get very violent -- sometimes bloody. Parents of younger or more sensitive kids might want to pre-screen episodes to see whether the footage could be upsetting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about martial arts. What are the different kinds of disciplines? Why do some practitioners believe that martial arts help with character development and mental acuity? How have the martial arts evolved over the years? Is fighting like this a good advertisement for martial arts? Does it make them seem more violent than they typically are?