While The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is a decline in the United States after sixteen long seasons, the reality show is just beginning to flourish in other countries around the world.
In 2012, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) did something they have never done before - they took TUF international.
It started with an edition of all-Brazilian (TUF: Brazil) fighters and ended with a season that pitted two of the world's biggest sporting rivals against one another in a region vs. region edition (TUF: Australia vs. UK).
With a trip to India already said to be on the docket for the coming year, what's next up for TUF? According to UFC President Dana White, it's a trip just south of the U.S. border to Mexico in January 2013.
"That's what we're doing, we're going down there, we're casting and we're working on an Ultimate Fighter: Mexico." White told a group of reporters following the UFC 155 pre-fight press conference Thursday in Las Vegas.
The Mexican community is obviously very well known for being passionate aficionados of the fight game. Some of the world's best combat sports competitors, especially in boxing, come from the Central American region.
This weekend's UFC 155 fight card features two fighters of Latin heritage in Cain Velasquez and Erik Perez, and as the sport continues to grow, more and more athletes will begin training in mixed martial arts (MMA).
MMA is not the No. 1 combat sport currently in Mexico, and clearly the UFC hopes to make some headway in changing that by scouring the country for prospects and putting them onto a show where they can develop under the eye of high quality coaches.
Since the sport is in its infancy in Mexico, White cannot guarantee they will find a cast of all Mexican fighters. Another country vs. country format may be needed if the talent field is thin, but the UFC boss remains optimistic they will be able to find 16 or 32 --depending on the format-- Mexican fighters to fill the cast.
"I hope so, I hope we can find enough good Mexican's for it to be all Mexican's," he said.
The UFC currently does not have a television deal in place for Mexico; however, White says the organization is in negotiations with a number of outlets and are just waiting to strike the right deal.
"We're talking to everybody down there," White said. "We'll get this thing squared away; get The Ultimate Fighter running down there. Once we get the right deal, I know it will be big."
When asked for more details regarding TUF: Mexico, such as when it may begin airing, White played coy and gave one of his infamous three-word answers with a grin on his face.
"We're working on."
White did not give a specific date or location for tryouts for TUF: Mexico, nor did he mention what weight class/weight classes would be cast for the show.
MMAmania.com will have more details on The Ultimate Fighter: Mexico as they become available.