The debut season of The Ultimate Fighter premiered on January 17, 2005. Sixteen mixed martial arts fighters were invited to participate in the show where they would reside together and train in two separate teams coached by UFC Light Heavyweight fighters Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. The teams would compete in physical challenges, segments hosted by singer Willa Ford, to determine which team would have the right to pair one of their own fighters against an opponent of their choice in the same weight class, with the loser being eliminated.
The finale was broadcast live on April 9, 2005, where the two finalists in each weight class faced off for a contract with the UFC. It was the first ever live UFC broadcast on non-pay-per-view television, and it drew a very impressive 1.9 overall rating. The series was also broadcast in the UK in the spring of 2005 on Bravo. A 5-disc DVD set of "The Ultimate Fighter" was released on November 1, 2005.
Sixteen Mixed Martial Artist fighters arrive in Las Vegas to begin their journey towards fame and fortune. Coached by Ultimate Fighting Championship legends, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, they will fight each other for two six-figure contracts in the UFC.
Team Couture and Team Liddell compete against each other in a test of strength, agility, and will. After several grueling challenges, two fighters are eliminated and sent home.
In preparation for the premiere fight, a top contender struggles to lose 20 lbs in 24 hours or face elimination. Two fighters christen the Octagon with a classic battle of brute strength.
After losing three of its members, Team Couture comes up with a new strategy to get a win. UFC President Dana White throws a twist into the competition and two Middleweights face off in the Octagon.
A night on the town for the team members turns violent. Contest rules are broken and the responsible fighters are reprimanded. Dana White and his coaches wrestle with how to settle the conflict.
Two contestants go into intensive training as they prepare for battle. Both teams rally around their fighters as the emotional conflict is settled in the Octagon.
After the much-anticipated Leben vs. Koscheck fight, people in the house are divided as ever. To make matters worse, one of the teams is struggling with discord among its members. The Light Heavyweights have their turn in the Octagon with a match up that pits two of the strongest fighters against each other.
One fighter creates controversy by training with the opposing team, Nate discovers his fate in the game, and a previously eliminated fighter gets another shot at the contract.
The Light Heavyweights compete in a challenge, and controversy arises during the fighter selection. The mood turns ugly when the fighters suspect there is a thief in the house.
Forrest’s cut puts his dream for the contract in jeopardy. The remaining fighters hear a surprising announcement from Dana that effect who they will fight to get into the finals.
Forrest is still up in the air about his future in the contest, but he does get his stitches out and the healing is progressing nicely. The fighters continue their battle for the remaining spot in the middleweight finals.
The light heavyweight semi-finals are up. Stephan Bonnar fights his close friend and training partner Mike Swick in the first bout. Forrest Griffin finds out if his cut has healed enough to fight Sam Hoger or give up his chance for the contract to alternate Bobby Southworth.
In a 2 1/2 hour extravaganza and for the first time on free broadcast television, the TUF finals will be live from Las Vegas on April 9th. In the middleweight division, Kenny Florian faces Diego Sanchez, and in the Light Heavyweight division, Forrest Griffin will take on Stephan Bonnar. Both of these final matchups will be undercards to the UFC matchup between Ken Shamrock and Rich Franklin.