In 2005, the UFC made a final gamble at getting mainstream exposure in the form of The Ultimate Fighter. If the show failed, odds are the entire organization would have folded. Obviously, that was not the case. The inaugural season of TUF was an unmitigated success capped off with arguably the most important 15 minutes in UFC history when Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fought at the finale on April 9, 2005. The impact of the bout reached beyond a mere win or loss on each man’s record. “It’s a good fight, but it’s more than that,” Griffin says. “It was the right moment at the right time at the right place. A confluence of circumstances caused it to be what it was. And for me and Stephan, it changed our lives.”

Keep reading