The seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which featured teams of middleweight hopefuls coached by Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin, wrapped up on June 21, 2008, at the The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale. The final pitted two undefeated fighters against each other in C.B. Dollaway and Amir Sadollah. Of course, Sadollah was undefeated because he was 0-0, so when he won the whole thing by armbarring Dollaway in the first round, it undermined the premise of the show just a bit.
Outside of the curiosity of a fighter with no professional MMA experience winning a 32-man tournament to earn an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract, the “TUF 7” finale offered a few other moments that were memorable for happy or unhappy reasons. In the “happy” category—except maybe for Burkman—Dustin Hazelett snared Josh Burkman in an armbar that remains perhaps the most sensational submission in UFC history.
Less happily, former middleweight champion Evan Tanner, in his second fight since returning from a two-year hiatus, dropped a split decision to Kendall Grove. The fight was saddening not for the loss—those are part and parcel of the game—but for how physically diminished Tanner seemed in the cage, and how discouraged he sounded afterwards. In the wake of the bout, Tanner admitted that the hard-lived time away from the sport had cost him, and speculated openly about his future. Tragically, there wouldn’t be one; less than three months later the former champ was dead, having succumbed to exposure during a solo trip into the California desert.
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