Bellator’s TUF-clone Fight Master doesn’t debut until next week, but MMA media have already gotten a special sneak preview of the show and many of them seem kinda shocked that it doesn’t suck. Via CagePotato:

To put it lightly, the initial average talent level of Fight Master appeared to be levels above some seasons of TUF. Sure, some were better than others and everyone had weaknesses, but for the most part, everyone looked pretty composed, coordinated, and skilled. At the heart of a good show are good fighters, and Fight Master seems like it could be a clear success in this regard.

And as for the reality portion of things…

Within minutes of the start of the debut episode, it becomes clear the competitiveness which drove each of the four coaches to great heights spills over onto the set, even as they simply sit together and watch the fight-in bouts which kick-off the series. As 32 fighters narrow their way down 16 in order to be placed on four teams and enter the competition set in New Orleans, the coaches engage in an MMA version of The Dozens, each trying to top the last person’s zinger.

Now you too can get in on judging Fight Master, as Spike has released a 10 minute sneak peak that features the intro, a fight, and a little bit of that ‘Fighters get to choose their own coach’ shit. Other than the heavy handed musical cues we’ve all come to expect out of American reality shows, Fight Master comes across as a well put together bit of television. The show flowed from scene to scene smoothly and coaches interaction didn’t seem hammy at all. The production team managed to make me care about both fighters through their 30 second intro vids, and the clip ends in a lil mini-cliffhanger that actually left me looking forward to seeing more.

That being said, this was a 10 minute clip. We’ll see how it holds my attention after an hour, and then after a few episodes. Even TUF tended to have entertaining season starts, and we’ve yet to see how Bellator tries to put a new spin on the done to death house / gym stuff. But so far, color me impressed. I was pretty sure this thing was gonna suck shweaty balls.