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The 9 Greatest Supporting Characters in ‘Ultimate Fighter’ History

Sure, we tune in for the fights at the end of each episode, the trash-talk between the coaches, and Dana White occasionally showing up to kick somebody’s ass out of the house. But over 12 seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, it’s the peripheral characters that are responsible for the show’s best moments. Take this season, for example — would it be nearly as interesting if Coach GSP didn’t bring in a special guest every week to shake up his team? With that in mind, here’s our tribute to the under-appreciated minor players that have kept TUF on its toes for the last six years…

#9: Willa Ford

In an effort to inject some eye candy into their new reality show, the UFC cast model/singer/actress Willa Ford as the host of The Ultimate Fighter‘s first season. (Her main duty was to introduce those weird elimination challenges that marked the show’s early days.) Willa was gone by season two, leaving us with fond memories of a time when TUF‘s non-stop sweaty dudeness was occasionally broken up by a pretty face.

#8: Jean-Charles Skarbowsky

Dude flies in from Paris, shows up to the TUF gym drunk, and gives GSP’s entire team the worst beating of their lives. What’s not to like?


#7: Mike Rowe

Even if you know Mike Rowe from his Dirty Jobs hosting gig and commercial pitchman duties, you might not be aware that he’s been the narrator of TUF for the entire series. In a voice that’s noticeably more aggro than his usual world-weary everyman drawl, Rowe helpfully reminds us what happened in last week’s episode, and teases the major action of the following week. You’ll never see his face, but once you hear the phrase “Who will become, the Ultimate, Fighterrrrr?,” you know it’s time to bear witness to the fitness of the modern warrior.

#6: Ray Longo

Long Island’s greatest Italian-American striking coach made his first appearance in a TUF 4 segment on Matt Serra, and returned two seasons later to assist the Terror with pad-holding and ball-busting. Ray Longo was a Paulie Cicero-like presence on TUF 6 — he might have moved slow, but it’s only because he didn’t have to move for anybody. During the infamous Joe Scarola situation (see video above), Longo blessed us with the line “You gotta change the way you look at things, and things you look at change.” That phrase is currently tattooed across my chest.

#5: The Bag, The Cardboard Box, etc…

You know the deal: Every season, the head coaches square off in the “coaches’ challenge,” putting their non-MMA-related athletic skills to the test; traditionally, the winning coach gets $10,000 and each fighter on his team gets $1,000. The presentation of the cash is one of TUF‘s best running gags. Instead of a locked Samsonite briefcase accompanied by an armed guard, Dana White brings the money along in whatever broke-ass cardboard box was available at the time. Yeah, we know the box is an inanimate object, but few recurring characters on the show are responsible for more excitement and good times.

#4: Karo Parisyan

GoofyDiazvsKaro by tangental

Season five of The Ultimate Fighter marked the last time that contestants’ cousins were allowed to drop by and start trouble. When Manny Gamburyan was part of the TUF 5 cast, his cousin Karo came in for a two-episode arc where he basically tried to take over the team from Coach Pulver. But Nate Diaz doesn’t appreciate being ordered around and grabbed all up on his neck and shit. Words were exchanged, chests were puffed out, and the two almost came to blows. Furious, Karo had to be escorted out of the building, where he delivered the line that would haunt him forever: “Do you even know me? Do you know who I am?” No, he did not add “bro” at the end — that’s a common misconception — but feel free to keep including it whenever you do an impression of him.

#3: Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson is one of the most fascinating characters in sports history, and every time he makes a public appearance, it’s an event. Long removed from the brashness of his youth, Tyson visited Team GSP on season 12 to impart some of his hard-earned wisdom. Of course, the guys totally geeked out, particularly St. Pierre himself, who described Mike as “my idol growing up.” It was a truly inspirational moment for the red team — and one that made us wish Iron Mike could come back as a head coach for season 13.

#2: Arianny Celeste‘s ass

Even when the fights fall short of greatness, we can always rely on the familiar, comforting sight of Arianny’s backside as she makes her first lap around the cage. During the last two seasons of TUF, Arianny’s ass has occasionally been replaced with Chandella Powell‘s ass — which is fine, don’t get us wrong — but we’re still partial to this old classic.

#1: Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz

Come on, this should have been obvious. TUF 8 assistant coach Al Stankie was like Mickey Goldmill come to life, but twice as crazy. His oddball pep talks and love of sardines were entertaining enough, but it’s the stuff you didn’t see that truly made him an icon. Like the time he showed up to the Palms wearing his Team Nogueira rashguard and slapped a Celtics fan. Or his emotional sparring session against Efrain Escudero. (“Ponchita, I did this for you!”) Of course, he was also a walking quote factory, giving us such lines as “Wouldn’t it be nice if you were so good on top you didn’t have to go down and get dirty, smell all those farts, bam bam bam bam! Wouldn’t that be nice?” Ah, Stankie. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore…

Dishonorable Mentions: The Worst Peripheral Characters in ’Ultimate Fighter’ History 
- Tiki Ghosn, obviously.

- Noah Inhofer’s girlfriend, Dan Barrera’s wife, Mike Wessel‘s wife, and every other lame chick who brought b.s. drama into the fighters’ lives. The YMCA lifeguard who seduced Jeremy Jackson on season 4 gets a pass because that dude probably had issues to begin with.

- Jose Aguilar. Forgot about Hitler Dog, didn’t you?

- Whoever’s responsible for installing doors in the TUF set. Embarrassing workmanship, bro.

Did we leave out your favorite Ultimate Fighter supporting character? Let us know in the comments section.


Cagepotato Comments

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Douchey McDoucherton- October 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm
they should set the karo-nate fight up now that nate is at 170
ix791- October 20, 2010 at 8:24 am
karo should have been number 1. do you not know who he is?
dranokills- October 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm
I remember all of that but the funniest thing of all was karo getting pissed at nate.
I am shocked that Nick didn't show up and beat Karo's dick in the ground, and both of em tagteam him.
It's the only time I can ever recall thinking, " holy fuck not only do I agree with a diaz family member, I actually understand why he got pissed and that he was very dead on right." Karo was trying to be a big wig, and came off as a usual.
The best part is now knowing where they both are in this business, it's Nate who should be big wigging Karo now.
Hey, maybe Junie browning can come on this new season and talk shit to someone, and get knocked the fuck out.
RwilsonR- October 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm
@ agentsmith - I actually did know that. Rollins has one of those really distinctive voices, and I picked that up the first time I heard it (I think it was for GSP vs. BJ 2). Pretty awesome, though.
Jack Bauer- October 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm
I liked when Forrest showed up looking like he had spent the last week living under the overpass and casing the local elementary school to bro out with some UFC Undisputed.
Hank Mardukis- October 19, 2010 at 11:15 am
@ agentsmith

1. No, that's Wand's job

2. No fucking way! Awesome, WAR ROLLINS!
Fried Taco- October 19, 2010 at 10:25 am
@El Infamous Burrito - Ben does have a better ass than Arianny! Or so I've heard.
Ballkick- October 19, 2010 at 9:34 am
Noah Inhofer's departure from TUF was just sad. His GF must give the best head in both North and South Dakota to leave the show.
I did some research to find out just what happened after he left,....this is all I could find:
The question people really want to know when it comes to Inhofer is what became of his relationship? Well, he did patch things up with his girlfriend Greta, and they are currently engaged to be married after Inhofer proposed in the summer of last year while on a mission trip to Costa Rica.

Despite being ridiculed for his actions he continued to fight for promotions like Extreme Challenge and King Of The Cage after the show, coming away with a mediocre post-TUF record of 3-3. Inhofer’s last fight, a TKO loss to former UFC fighter Victor Valimaki, was back in September of 2008.

I hope she was worth it Bro.
flying gogoplata- October 19, 2010 at 9:17 am
can we get Juanito Ibarra on the villain list?
cecils_pupils- October 19, 2010 at 9:16 am
So why only 9 for this list? Having trouble with finding a #10?

My #10 vote goes for the piece of shit door that gets kicked-in every other TUF series.
cecils_pupils- October 19, 2010 at 9:14 am
El Famous Burrito- October 19, 2010 at 8:59 am
In order to get back on Dana''s good side, Ben should be forced to be the ring girl for Brock vs. Cain this Saturday.
BossNasty- October 19, 2010 at 8:56 am
Willa Ford's body is so much better than Arianny's she should be at the top of the list and she should replace Arianny's playboy spread. How can you label that picture as "Arianny's ass"? just cause you have 2 butt cheeks and an asshole doesn't qualify as an ass. She barely has a booty.
Almost North- October 19, 2010 at 8:40 am
I think "Destroyed by Satan" premieres on Fox in a couple months. Looking forward to it.
Videodrome_NOW- October 19, 2010 at 8:37 am
Then again Dan Barrera's wife screaming she was going to be destroyed by Satan was pretty fucking awesome as well. Do you guys remember that shit?? I still bring that shit up to people.
Almost North- October 19, 2010 at 8:37 am
"I've got the cancer"

"Thats terrible, is it serious? where is it?"

"I have the cancer"

"What kind is it?"

"You know...cancer on TV"

Videodrome_NOW- October 19, 2010 at 8:32 am
I'm glad Aguilar got a mention. Who didn't have a meltdown listening to that guy talk and not only that, it somehow made you want Junie win. The guy(Aguilar) is a wizard in our day, and a raging pedophile with extreme delusions of grandeur in days of yore.

I agree that John Danaher's hair is not only memorable, it's fuckin legendary. Who else could rock (what could only be described as the wig Bill Murray was wearing in Kingpin,) that hairdo and actually have people respect you?? That's right. John Danaher. Baddest fuckin nerd on the planet!
El Famous Burrito- October 19, 2010 at 8:30 am
Wow, did anyone read that link about Mike Wessel's wife faking her cancer?

What a scum-sucking piece of shit!
Merlin- October 19, 2010 at 8:30 am
Jean-Charles Skarbowsky is by far the most interesting/entertaining thing to happen on TUF 12. He is without a doubt a Muay Thai savant, with 3 minutes of screen time he's captured the MMA worlds attention.

And that white pasty, hairy, pot-bellied, hung over, bean pole, Frenchy ... has made a fan out of me!
agentsmith- October 19, 2010 at 8:17 am
I thought Willa Ford's main job was fucking Chuck.

Fun Fact: Henry Rollins does the narration for the Primetime shows.
RwilsonR- October 19, 2010 at 8:11 am
I had no idea that Mike Rowe did the voice over announcing work. I don't really know why, but I think that's pretty cool.
J-Dog- October 19, 2010 at 8:00 am
John Danaher will always be memorable for his epic bad hair.
Almost North- October 19, 2010 at 7:59 am
Who is that guy in the red shirt talking to Nate? Didn't he used to be a fighter back in the day?
Almost North- October 19, 2010 at 7:55 am
I don't know about head coach, but you can't tell me Tyson wouldn't make one hell of a striking coach.

Also..... Skarbowsky got robbed. Eight is bad enough, but you've even got him behind the dude in black face.
ReX13- October 19, 2010 at 7:50 am
War Stankie, obvisously.