The 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is currently airing on ESPN+, and if fans thought that coaches Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega weren’t likely to get involved in hijinks, they were sorely mistaken.
The history of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is littered with seriously crazy pranks, and judging on the current season, Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega aren’t afraid to pull plenty of their own.
But do the pranks on the current season of TUF hold up to some of the insane moments we’ve seen in previous seasons? They may well do so.
With this in mind then, here is a look at five of the craziest pranks in the history of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
#5. Brian Ortega leaves enormous snakes inside the locker room of Team Volkanovski (TUF 29)
Considering both men were considered a little stoic before their stint as coaches on the current season of TUF, Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega have proven to be highly skilled when it comes to the art of pranks.
Early episodes of the season saw Ortega have Team Volkanovski’s vehicles removed while they were taking part in a training session, leaving them donkeys to ride home instead.
The current UFC featherweight champ responded to his rival by poking fun at his lack of punctuality by filling his team’s with an insane number of clocks.
However, nobody could’ve foreseen ‘T-City’ pulling out one of the craziest pranks in TUF history in the show’s most recent episode.
Essentially, the top contender for the UFC featherweight title sought out an exotic animal handler, and then procured a number of genuinely huge snakes – the most memorable being a giant albino python – to leave inside an unsuspecting Team Volkanovski locker room.
To say Volkanovski and his crew of fighters were shocked when they returned would be an understatement. Fighter Brady Hiestand appeared to jump like he’d suffered an electrocution upon seeing the reptiles, while Volkanovski himself admitted that he “sh*t himself a little” at the sight of them.
The 145-pound UFC champ eventually picked the largest snake up, proving he doesn’t fear them – hardly surprising as he’s from Australia – but this was definitely up there with the most downright insane pranks in TUF history.
#4. The Upper Decker (TUF 6)
One of the most disgusting pranks in TUF history took place on the show’s sixth season, way back in 2007. The season, which featured coaches Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, was already a heated one thanks to some incendiary personalities.
Nobody could’ve expected such a crude prank from Team Serra’s ‘War Machine’ Jon Koppenhaver, though – nor could they have foreseen the wild aftermath that followed.
Essentially, Koppenhaver decided to leave an ‘upper decker’ in Team Hughes’ toilet. For those unaware, the prank involves removing the cistern lid from a toilet and then defecating into the tank – meaning feces will flow down once the toilet is flushed.
The prank was puerile and disgusting, but admittedly, it was also quite funny. Team Hughes, however, didn’t see the funny side.
And when Jared Rollins found out what’d happened, he subsequently shattered the cistern lid against a wall before confronting Koppenhaver, leading to a brief pull-apart brawl.
In the end, Koppenhaver and his teammates cleaned up the mess, ensuring that cooler heads would prevail. However, more than a decade on, this remains one of the craziest and most memorable pranks we’ve ever seen on TUF.
#3. The Mariachi band (TUF 14)
2011’s TUF 14 was arguably the wildest season of them all. Featuring a cast of bantamweights and featherweights coached by bitter rivals Michael Bisping and Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller, it seemed like an explosive moment would occur on every episode.
However, the craziest prank of the season was neither aggressive nor puerile. Instead, it was simply outrageous and downright bizarre. Quite how Bisping and his team came up with such a plan remains a mystery.
The early part of the prank was nothing out of the ordinary. Essentially, Bisping and his assistant coach Tiki Ghosn decided to barricade Team Mayhem into their locker room before unleashing fire extinguishers on them and filling the room with fumes.
This part of the prank would be revisited on TUF Brazil 2 and didn’t go down so well, as a handful of fighters suffered serious breathing problems.
However, this one was a little different due to the random addition of a live mariachi band, which appeared walking through the thick smog playing traditional music as Mayhem and his team desperately tried to escape.
The prank was downright hilarious and bizarre in equal measure, and even Mayhem, who had gotten into multiple angry confrontations with Bisping over the season, had to acknowledge it as one of TUF’s best. In a bad-tempered season, this was an excellent piece of hijink.
#2. Chris Leben “spritzes” on Jason Thacker’s bed (TUF 1)
When TUF's inaugural season began back in 2005, nobody was really sure quite what to expect. But when the fighters were plied with alcohol on their first night inside the TUF house, we were quickly given a taste of what was to come with one of the show’s all-time most outrageous pranks.
All of the fighters in the house appeared to be at least a little drunk, but middleweight Chris Leben in particular was completely hammered, talking trash and bragging about his fighting skills to anyone who would listen.
Most notably, ‘The Crippler’ felt that a number of the fighters on the show alongside him simply didn’t belong. In particular, he aimed this taunt at Canada’s Jason Thacker, who was admittedly very inexperienced with no professional fights to his name.
Thacker was christened ‘Strange Brew’, but giving the Canadian a derogatory nickname was not enough for Leben. And so while Thacker showered in the early hours of the morning, ‘The Crippler’ took things further and urinated onto his bed.
Leben tried to claim that he hadn’t completely urinated, stating that he’d merely ‘spritzed’ on his teammate’s bedclothes, but it didn’t make the moment any less shocking or disrespectful.
In the end, Thacker’s effort in training earned him a little more respect from his castmates, even if his fighting skills didn’t, but no fans of TUF would ever forget what was the first crazy prank in the history of the series.
#1. Tom Lawlor urinates into fruit – and Kyle Kingsbury takes things further (TUF 8)
2008’s TUF 8, coached by Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, remains arguably the most infamous season of the UFC’s long-running reality show.
This reputation was triggered largely by the presence of Junie Browning, a bad-tempered lightweight who caused numerous confrontations and even outright fights in the house, and generally came off as less than professional.
However, the craziest prank of the season did not involve Browning and instead saw Tom Lawlor and Kyle Kingsbury involved in some genuinely disgusting antics.
Essentially, the issue began when Lawlor discovered that the fruit platter he’d been ordering every day had instead been eaten by members of Team Nogueira. And so anticipating that they’d do it again, ‘Filthy Tom’ decided to prank them – by urinating on the fruit.
The likes of Ryan Bader and Efrain Escudero subsequently scoffed the fruit, and were left gagging when they found out exactly what had been done to it beforehand.
Worse was to come, though. Team Nogueira’s Phillipe Nover was having similar issues with Team Mir stealing his sushi, and so inspired by Lawlor, Kingsbury went a step further by ejaculating into the Japanese dish.
Sure enough, David Kaplan then consumed the sushi, and when he was told what Kingsbury had done, he understandably did not take the prank well at all. ‘Diamond Dave’ even threatened to retaliate with “fecal matter,” but thankfully didn’t follow through with it.
Still, this prank remains the craziest – and most disgusting – in TUF history. Thankfully, nothing has really come close!