This past season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) on FX, the 16th of its kind featuring coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin leading teams of welterweight Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hopefuls, was the lowest rated season in the seven year history of the show.
Having covered each episode myself, I can tell you it was a drain. The problem? The show is tired.
The theme of each episode is the same. We meet the fighters who will be competing against each other in that week's episode, we get a training montage with voice over interviews describing the preparation for the pending bout, we see a prank or two from the house in between training sessions, then we see the fight.
Wam, bam, tune in next week for more of the same.
There are only so many ways to combat this. The usual method is to find increasingly troubled young fighters, feed them full of booze, and watch them go insane. Or find coaches fans deeply care about already and hope they deliver compelling television.
But what happens if ratings don't improve then? It's not guaranteed, after all. Hell, Brock Lesnar, the biggest box office draw in MMA history, was brought on for season 13 and failed miserably, though he lacks the right personality for a show like TUF.
One option that just recently opened up that could do the trick, just on sheer curiosity, is a women's season. The potential coaches?
It's got all the right pieces. Both are outspoken, there's no love lost between the two, and both are elite fighters in their respective division. "Rowdy" is already saying she's open to the idea, too.
"I'd love going on TUF. It would be very interesting, whether we would coach guys or girls. It would be really good for people to see a woman in the position of coaching the men and the men respecting the women. That would be very positive. If it was all women, I think it would be hilarious if Dana [White] had to deal with the girls having ‘girl issues.' You know, if someone was like ‘I can't fight, I have cramps!' and see him lose his mind. He would lose his mind if he had to deal with girl stuff, I don't doubt that some issues would come up. So just for my own personal amusement, I think it would be really funny. But I also think all guys would be really fun, extremely positive. I'm open to anything."
"It could happen. If there's two people who would probably coach, you kick [the idea] around, this could happen, that could happen. If they did, it could be her and Miesha. You know, we'll see. Timing has a lot do with it."
Rousey will defend her bantamweight title against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 on Feb. 23, 2013, in Anaheim, California. Tate, meanwhile, is currently on sabbatical, though she's made clear that could change at any time, especially if the right opportunity comes along.
Assuming Rousey wins, the timing would match up well to get the two down to Las Vegas to tape season 18 of TUF. The big question is whether or not that's something you Maniacs would be interested in.
Well, would you?