Despite the fact that the UFC and Spike TV have what appears to be almost a completely fractured relationship, they're both still in business with one another.
That means another season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), this one the fourteenth incarnation of the once-popular hit show.
Season 14, which officially began production on June 10, 2011, will feature coaches Michael Bisping and Jason Miller and is currently slated for a Sept. 21, 2011 debut.
But apparently, this season has been so good that company President Dana White is going to pull some strings and do something "we've never done before." From a recent appearance on the Opie and Anthony show:
"If you liked (The Ultimate Fighter 13) wait til you see this season. This season is so good, I'm turning the first episode into two hours. We've never done that. The first episode will be two hours of The Ultimate Fighter. ... This season's really good -- really good."
Miller and Bisping have gone back and forth with each other on Twitter at various times throughout filming and both echoed White's conviction that this season will be one of the best ever.
TUF 14 will feature, for the very first time in the long history of the show, fighters from both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. In addition, the "elimination" round has returned, which means that 32 hopefuls won't secure a spot on the Spike TV reality show unless they prove victorious on day one.
Speaking of eliminations, the wildcard fights from season's past are just that -- the past.
Bisping, a TUF veteran in every sense of the word (won TUF 3 and coached TUF 9), was always the first choice to coach the show; however, the UFC was hopeful they could put him opposite mouthy ex-Realtor Chael Sonnen and watch the ratings, which have been anemic all throughout season 13, shoot through the roof.
Unfortunately Sonnen's poor standing with both the California and Nevada State Athletic Commission's put an end to all that talk, and he instead was matched up against Brian Stann once he was reinstated.
Enter the "Mayhem."
One trash talker's loss is another big mouth's gain, as Miller quickly stepped in to fill the void. And while he's not as electric as Sonnen, he's certainly not short on one-liners.
Not only that, he's accustomed to the whole reality show thing, having been the host of MTV's "Bully Beatdown" for three seasons dating back to March 2009. All the ingredients are there: Controversial? Check. Gimmicky? Check. Can't stop talking? Check.
Oh, and he's a pretty good fighter to boot.
Can a cocky Brit and a goofy American save the once popular reality show? Or is it too little, too late for the program that "saved" the UFC? And who wins when the two square off at the conclusion of filming?
Time will tell.