Each and every March, from boardrooms to classrooms, men, women and even children watch with bated breath as the NCAA announces the 68 teams that will fill out the brackets for the men's basketball tournament.
It's become a tradition for just about everybody to pick their favorites all the way through March Madness until a national champion is crowned in early April.
Over the years, the Ultimate Fighter has followed a similar format with a roster of young, up and coming hopefuls living in a house trying to make their way through a tournament with the end goal being afforded a six-figure contract with the UFC.
Now fans have a chance to play along with the TUF tournament just like March Madness with the new TUF Tournament Fantasy game.
Fans have already started picking the fighter they believe will go all the way through the tournament, but they can also come back each week to select the winners in each individual fight, and unlike the NCAA Tournament, one game - or in this case one fight - doesn't eliminate you from the competition.
The Ultimate Fighter then becomes an interactive experience that goes beyond watching as a reality show, and transforms you the viewer into a talent scout as you pick and predict each fight along the way.
"It's a great way to follow along with the show because normally people get an attachment to the fighters because of their personalities, but this is also your chance to follow a fighter based on his skills," said Rami Genauer from FightMetric.com.
"Normally people take a look at the field ahead of time, and you see articles all over the place about which of these guys will be good. Well, once you start watching the show you get one impression of every guy, and based on those impressions and the training you see during the tournament you make your pick. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong, but either way you get to keep going in the tournament just like the fighters do."
Like every season of The Ultimate Fighter, there are always fighters that appear to be favorites and those that come in as underdogs. Coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will hope to lead each of their fighters to victory, and with the TUF Tournament Fantasy game, you now have a chance to not only see the veteran talent that's already on the show, but the competitors that come from the shadows and develop during their time in the house.
"It's almost like being a talent scout," said Genauer. "Because unfortunately these guys don’t have a lot of history behind them. This is an opportunity to use your eagle eye to spot the diamond in the rough because there's a bunch of guys who you are going to see for the first time.
"If you can spot the guy ahead of time that no one knows about, and you're right and ride that guy all the way through the tournament, you're going to get rewarded. Instead of this being a passive viewing experience, it turns it into an interactive experience. You can really turn the Ultimate Fighter season into an interactive experience instead of just a TV viewing experience."
The Ultimate Fighter fantasy tournament is now underway. Click here to join in.
March Madness Meets The Ultimate Fighter
By Damon Martin February 07, 2013
Play TUF Fantasy at fantasy.ultimatefighter.com