GLENDALE - [UPDATED: 9:18 p.m.] With the fame and notoriety of being on a reality television show and the supreme prize of a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship incentive enough, cast members of "The Ultimate Fighter" are also privy to training and learning from some of the best in the mixed-martial-arts business.
"When I was on 'Ultimate Fighter' season one, I know how naive I was and how I didn't know anything about MMA and I was a sponge and I took advantage of it, learning from Chuck Liddell," said Coach Josh Koscheck, beginning the latest episode of "The Ultimate Fighter," which aired on Wednesday night on Spike TV. "Hopefully these guys will take advantage of the guys that we have here."
Koscheck, the coach of Team Koscheck, which includes Glendale grapplers Sako Chivichyan and Sevak Magakian, brought in some extra help for his team in the latest episode - most notably UFC Hall of Famer Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and Jon Fitch.
"It opened my eyes," said Chivichyan of the experience of meeting, training and learning from UFC fighters. "It made me a little more serious about my career. It made me ask questions about the path they took to get where they got.
"They're all mentally tough and they have a drive. That opened my eyes in my career."
The help began with Koscheck's teammate at American Kickboxing Academy, Fitch, a former UFC welterweight title contender and largely considered the No. 2 welterweight in the world.
Fitch trained with the members of Team Koscheck, but it appeared as if the true highlight was meeting Liddell, who walked into the gym and was immediately greeted with a round of applause.
Perhaps the most recognizable mainstream figure in MMA's brief history, Liddell showed up and offered some advice to the burgeoning crop of Koscheck-coached fighters.
"It was a great feeling to see Chuck there," Magakian said. "It was a great experience cause he's the champ."
Magakian and Chivichyan were shown to be particularly grateful to talk to the UFC legend and former two-time "TUF" coach, including the show's groundbreaking first season in which Koscheck was one of his pupils.
"It was [very] motivational seeing Chuck Liddell and talking to him," said Chivichyan in a confessional. "I think the yellow team needed this boost and Chuck was somebody that we could relate to and the stuff he told us made a lot of sense and keeps me focused."
Liddell's advice was simple, but seemed to resonate.
"Don't forget to enjoy what you do," Liddell said on the show. "If you don't like this, it's not the job for you. If you don't like fighting, if you don't like training, this is a job that would suck. Don't forget this is a helluva lot better than a real job.
"Enjoy it, have fun. It's hard to step away from, that's the hardest part about making a decision at the end. You miss it. I love walking out in the ring, I love walking out in the arena and fighting someone."
Shortly thereafter, Chivichyan offered Liddell a huge compliment before the former UFC light heavyweight champion left the gym.
"You're still the champ, man," Chivichyan said.
Coach Georges St. Pierre also brought in a guest coach, as well, the very interesting Jean Charles Skarbowsky, a Muay Thai kickboxer.
"Apparently, Jean Charles, he only sleeps like three hours a night and before practice he like gets wasted, like he just drinks a [expletive deleted] ton of alcohol and just goes in there with a bunch of MMA fighters and effortlessly beats them up," Team GSP's Dane Sayers said in a confessional.
Skarbowsky became the stuff of budding legend with people telling tales of his brutal training sessions and his after-hours lifestyle.
"He was a crazy guy," Chivichyan said.
In the aftermath of the previous week's altercation between Magakian and Team GSP's Andrew "Bruce Leroy" Caceres, there were no follow-up fireworks, but Caceres, as has become a recurring theme, continued to displease everyone in the house with his constant boasts and talk.
For Team Koscheck as a whole, the episode was a turning point in that the team garnered its first win after losing the first three fights.
Nam Phan, a Southern California fighter with more experience than the majority of the cast, decisioned Spencer Page in a stand-up, back-and-forth battle.
"I was pretty confident he was gonna be able to beat Spencer Page," Chivichyan said. "When Nam won, it was a team confidence boost."
And, of course, leading into the next episode, Phan's victory gave Koscheck's team control to pick the following fight.
"It was exciting because we have the control now," Magakian said. "We can choose our fights. It was a great feeling."