For many years, mixed martial arts was banned in most states and looked down upon in states it was allowed. That took a quick turn when Dana White re-organized the entire sport and banning such barbaric maneuvers as groin kicks, biting, etc. Still, such a sport had a difficult time grabbing a share of the spotlight in the United States. That was until Spike TV began airing The Ultimate Fighter

Spike TV may only be a cable channel, but for a fledgling company such as the UFC, any exposure on television was good exposure, especially at the time. The Ultimate Fighter followed what is a fairly standard reality show idea and premise. Fighters all live together in a house and fight each other in the ring until a winner is crowned. Their in octagon and in house lives can be monitored and aired for our pleasure. While the season was average as a whole, the finale fight of still UFC fighters Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin is credited as one of the top five mixed martial arts fights of all time.

That is just a highlight package, but if you haven't seen the full fight, do yourself a favor and google it or purchase the first season of The Ultimate Fighter for the full fight alone. It is more than worth it and will have you standing and cheering no matter who you are rooting for.

Looking back, the cast and ultimately, this fight, saved the UFC from mainstream embarrassment and is heralded as a massive success. Its coaches were probably the two most popular fighters in the sport at that time in Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and Randy "The Natural" Couture. It spawned such UFC fighters as Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Kenny Florian, Chris Leben, Mike Swick and the two fighters in the above video, Griffin and Bonnar. All of those men are either still with the UFC or have had championship fights and even held championships during their run. To say it lightly, The Ultimate Fighter saved the sport from irrelevance.

While the show has evolved over the seasons and its outreach has gone global, The Ultimate Fighter was and always will be Stephen Bonnar slugging it out with Forrest Griffin in the first season finale of this game changing program.

Thoughts of your own or favorite UFC moments? Post in the comments below!