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Friends Central
The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion
Season 3, episode 24
72nd overall episode of Friends
The aftermath of Pete's first fight.
Episode Information

May 8, 1997

Written by

Pang-Ni Landrum, Mark J. Kunerth, Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Scott Silveri

Directed by

Robby Benson

Alternate titles
Episode Guide

The One With Ross' Thing


The One At The Beach


"The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion" is the twenty-fourth episode of the third season of Friends, which aired on May 8, 1997.


The episode begins with a scene at the coffee shop where Monica is about to tell her five friends a story regarding her current relationship with Pete when she is interrupted by two gentlemen named Tomas and Tim, who ask Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey to make some room on a sofa because all the other seats in the shop have been taken. After they have made some room for Tomas and Tim, Tomas suddenly bursts into tears, interrupting Monica again as she makes a second attempt to begin her story. The friends are left completely bewildered when they overhear Tomas expressing his suspicion that his wife is sleeping with another man, who he believes to be her gynecologist because "he's got access." It turns out that it is in fact Tim who is sleeping with Tomas' wife, which Tim himself remorsefully confesses it, causing Joey to rather crudely interrupt their discussion to ask if Tim is the gynecologist Tomas was earlier referring to, only for an irritated Tim to tell him to mind his own business. Tomas then bursts into tears as he absorbs the fact that Tim has been sleeping with his wife, and he ends their friendship before leaving the shop in a loud fury. Tim follows him out, giving the six shocked friends one last embarrassed, apologetic look before he closes the door behind him. After a stunned silence, Phoebe asks Monica what she had been about to say to them before Tomas and Tim interrupted them. Understandably, Monica can no longer remember it.

Chandler's new boss, Doug, has an unusual symbolic method of congratulating him for all his good work-by slapping him on the buttocks. Chandler is uncomfortable with this, but his colleagues are all jealous of him because the fact that Doug only ever slaps Chandler's backside shows them that Doug isn't really noticing their good work, only Chandler's. Eventually, Chandler tells Doug how it's making him uncomfortable and all the other guys jealous, and Doug stops slapping Chandler and starts slapping his other co-workers, who find it flattering.

Monica announces Pete's decision to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. The guys are shocked by this, since they don't think Pete is UFC material, and that the competition may be too tough for him. Nevertheless, Ross goes with Monica to watch Pete's first fight- or rather, Pete's torture at the hands of Tank Abbott, who ends up standing on Pete's neck until he passes out. Monica tells Pete how she's proud of him and that he can now look back on his attempt to compete in the tournament. Pete is puzzled by her remark about "looking back", as he's decided he's not quitting the tournament in question until he becomes the Ultimate Fighting Champion. The second fighter takes even less time to knock out Pete. Monica visits Pete, who is in a body cast and neck brace, after the fight and begs him to quit the whole thing. When he refuses, she realizes that she loves him too much to be able to endure watching him suffer this way, so she breaks up with him.

Phoebe asks Rachel if it's OK for her to set Ross up with Bonnie, a friend of hers. When Rachel asks for info about Bonnie, Phoebe tells her that Bonnie was bald, to which Rachel consents. When Rachel meets Bonnie at the coffee house, however, she finds out that Bonnie has grown her hair back and is beautiful. She's angry with Phoebe for lying to her about Bonnie, but Phoebe corrects her by saying that Bonnie was bald, and that she's not any more. Rachel realizes that she's sad because she didn't expect Ross to be dating other women so soon after their break-up.

The episode ends with the gang, except Monica, watching another of Pete's fights on TV, during which Ross remarks the irony in how her previous boyfriend Richard didn't want kids, and after this match Pete probably can't even have them.

Cast and Crew

Main Cast

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Greene
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting Cast

Jon Favreau - Pete Becker
James Hong - Hoshi
Christine Taylor - Bonnie
Sam McMurray - Doug
Steve Park - Phil
Joe O'Connor - Stevens
John McCarthy - Himself
Bruce Buffer - Himself
David "Tank" Abbott - Himself
Billy Crystal - Tim
Robin Williams - Tomas


Directed By:
Robby Benson

Written By:
Pang-Ni Landrum, Mark J. Kunerth, Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Scott Silveri



  • Tank Abbott had been an actual UFC heavy weight fighter but he left to return to wrestling in 1999. He returned to UFC in 2003.
  • The appearance of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams wasn't in the original script. They were by coincidence in the same building, or the one across the street from where Friends is shot, and the writers asked if they wanted to make a guest appearance. This was the day of shooting so it was just quickly thrown in. Robin and Billy apparently ad libbed the conversation their characters have in the coffee house which the six friends eavesdrop upon, and when Joey irritates Billy's character by interrupting their conversation at one point, this was apparently ad libbed by Matt LeBlanc. The annoyed reaction from Billy's character, who tells Joey to mind his own business, was likewise apparently ad libbed by Billy. Also seemingly adlibbed was Monica saying "I really can't remember" to the gang just before the opening credits. The motion picture "Father's Day", starring Billy Crystal and Robin Williams opened in theaters the very next day on May 9, 1997.
    • Lisa Kudrow would later star alongside Crystal in the 1999 film Analyze This and its 2002 sequel Analyze That.
  • Since the episode aired the term "Ultimate Fighting" has been largely replaced by the term "Mixed Martial Arts" and there are unified rules that govern the sport far stricter than the ones mentioned in the episode. As of 2015 Bruce Buffer is still the ring announcer for the majority of UFC events, while "Big" John McCarthy still actively referees in the sport.
  • Pete mentions that UFC is banned in 49 states. At the time of this episode's airing New York was one of the only U.S. states to ban MMA fighting however the ban was lifted in 2016.
  • Bruce Buffer is the half-brother of fellow announcer Michael Buffer who voiced "let's get ready to rumble" in "The One With The Football".
  • Ross books a table at a restaurant using the name Wynona Ryder who appears later in the series as Melissa Warburton in "The One With Rachel's Big Kiss".
  • Phoebe knows two girls that shave their heads, in "The One With The Candy Hearts" (S1E14) she mentions Abby. Bonnie is the second one.
  • This is the last appearance of Jon Favreau as Pete Becker in the series.
  • Christine Taylor who plays Bonnie would go on to marry Ben Stiller who played Tommy in "The One With The Screamer". (S3E22).
  • The shot of the stadium where the Ultimate Fighting event was taking place was of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, although the UFC event depicted in the episode is presumably meant to place in New York.
    • This was likely due to New York's ban on MMA events at the time.
  • The large cup Ross has at the fight is identical to that held by Ugly Naked Guy in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" when he answers the door to Ross. It was explained in the commentary for that episode that the idea of the large coke came from a crew member bringing one to work every day.


  • Ross buys an Ultimate Fighting Combo, a large pop and popcorn, at the fight. However, after Ross and Monica sit down, they are never seen again. In the HD version, he visibly puts it down in the long shot when the announcer comes on the ring. However, when Monica talks to Pete at the ring, you can see that the combo wasn't set on the floor. However, i's possible that Ross took it with him, as he was excited about getting the cup; or that they're simply in a different side of the ring.
  • In the scene where Phoebe and Rachel are outside the coffee house talking about Ross and Bonnie, a large piece of black fuzz is visible on Phoebe's shirt. When the camera cuts away to Rachel and then back to Phoebe, the piece of fuzz is gone.
  • When Phoebe asks Rachel if it's ok to set Ross up with Bonnie, Rachel's shoulder bag is over her left shoulder in the shots facing Phoebe but over Rachel's right shoulder when the shots are facing Rachel. In the final shot she clasps her bag in her left hand before putting the bag over her shoulder.
  • Ross mentions during Pete's third fight that "From the looks of it" Pete can't have children now. This would indicate that his opponent was attacking his groin area. However, groin attacks are illegal in UFC fights.

External links

Episode Navigation

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Preceded by
"The One With Ross' Thing"
Series Three Episodes Followed by
"The One At The Beach"