On Fri., March 9, 2012, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will bring fans the fifteenth installment of the reality television series, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) on FX at 9 p.m. ET.
However, viewers can expect to see things ratcheted up a notch this season. On top of the fact that the TUF 15 coaches (Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber) happen to be two fighters who can hardly stand to be in the same room with each other, the innovative way that this series will be broadcast and presented is certainly an exciting prospect.
Unlike past seasons, the footage we see, each week, will be very recent (usually shot within the past day or two). Also, the actual fights will be shown live on FX, every Friday night. No editing, no commentators ... just live mixed martial arts (MMA) goodness on your TV screen, in your living room.
Last night (March 1, 2012), FUEL TV ran a preview show for the upcoming TUF 15 debut, which included some nostalgic looks back on previous season highlights, as well as interviews with UFC President Dana White and several other UFC personalities.
Spoiler alert! Dana is excited:
"What we are doing this season with ‘The Ultimate Fighter Live' - it's never been done with television, with sports, with anything," says White. "Basically, the reality portions of the show that you're going to see will have been shot in the last two days, so everything is real time. The most incredible part of all this is that these fights are live, every Friday night. This is revolutionary television."
It's well documented that TUF 15 coaches, Cruz and Faber, have little love lost between them. Last night's TUF preview episode continued to document the bad blood.
Never one to lack confidence, "The California Kid" has a simple gameplan going into the show:
"I'm gonna beat him in the coaching game. I'm gonna beat him up in the fight and then walk away with the belt."
"The Dominator" was equally candid about their relationship and how it's festered into what we currently see today on the screen and in the cage:
"He's always taking shots and I'm always taking shots. It's basically a never-ending rivalry. That's where we're at now. We're gonna be in there literally trying to kill each other. (creepy laugh)"
Ultimately, it's not really about Dominick and Urijah. It's about 32 fighters looking to make a name for themselves and work towards the possibility of one day wearing UFC gold. White believes those factors are what truly make TUF a success on the airwaves:
"‘The Ultimate Fighter' has become so popular because, in my opinion, it's the most relevant reality show on television," White continues. "It's not some reality show where you see a bunch of weirdo's on a show for a few weeks and then it's over and you never see them again. These kids are coming in and competing to try and get into the UFC and hopefully become a world champion someday."
In addition to TUF being shot in a live format for the first time, it's also the first time the series will be seen on FX (via the UFC's new deal with FOX Sports). White had nothing but good things to say about the way the new deal will improve the way we see TUF on TV:
"It was 11 years ago that we bought this company and got into this sport. We had a vision for this thing, and our goal was to get this thing on to television, and then eventually -- network television. The deal that I always dreamt about and the deal that I always wanted was FOX. Our sport lines up perfectly with their network. Now that we're here and we're doing massive fights on FOX and now that we have this opportunity to be on FX and do 'The Ultimate Fighter' LIVE -- this is revolutionary television. Nobody's ever done this before. If you love sports, you love 'The Ultimate Fighter.' You love drama, you're gonna love 'The Ultimate Fighter.' You love reality shows, you're gonna love 'The Ultimate Fighter.' I don't care what type of television that you're into and you like to watch, 'The Ultimate Fighter' is the television show for you."
There you have it.
It looks like we can expect a very tough cast of competitors, as well as a lot of live drama to keep the fans entertained for an entire season of reality TV goodness.
Will you Maniacs be tuning in for the TUF 15 debut? What about this upcoming season excites you the most?
Remember to tune in to FX on Fri., March 9 at 9 p.m. ET!