The Ultimate Fighter

Henderson Officially Named “TUF 9” Coach


Dan Henderson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

NEW YORK, NY — Dan Henderson will serve as coach of the American team for season nine of “The Ultimate Fighter: US vs. UK” premiering Wednesday, April 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV.

Henderson earned the right to coach after defeating former middleweight champ Rich Franklin via split decision after an intense bout at UFC 93 last Saturday night. He will be opposed by British sensation Michael Bisping. Production for “The Ultimate Fighter: Team US vs. Team UK” begins this Friday, January 23 in Las Vegas.

Henderson is the ideal American team coach for “The Ultimate Fighter: US vs. UK” as he is no stranger to representing his country in the sport he loves. Henderson was a member of the United States Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team in 1992 and 1996 and has competed all over the world both as an amateur in wrestling and as a professional in mixed martial arts.

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White Thinks ‘TUF 9’ Format is “Dumb”


Dana White. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a new interview with The Sun UK, UFC President Dana White says that he’s not a fan of the announced format for the upcoming ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, which will pit fighters from the United States against those from the United Kingdom:

“It’s dumb, I don’t like it — it’s not USA v the UK, we’re looking for the best fighter in the world. We put on a card one time, the USA v Canada, it was f***ing retarded.

...

“You either like the guy’s fighting style or personality — nationality has nothing to do with it. We’re looking for the best fighters in the world — this country versus that country is irrelevant.”

It’s an odd quote because one would think that White would be involved in the production of the show. However a select few believe that it was and remains Spike TV that created and controls the series. White is right though - the concept is stupid and Spike executives shouldn’t be hoping that it’s going to be make ‘TUF’ interesting again, because it’s not going to help. The show has declined rapidly since the fourth season and without Junie Browning causing havoc this season, the ratings would likely have dipped to a record low.

In other Zuffa-related reality show news, World Extreme Cagefighting is currently in talks with Versus concerning a reality show of their own, which may or may not be similar to ‘TUF’ and will likely debut at some point next year.

Dana White’s UFC 90 Video Blog Part I

After taking a break for UFC 89, Dana White is back for with his video blog for UFC 90. This edition chronicles yesterday’s tryouts for “The Ultimate Fighter 9”, which were held in London, England.

It’s key to note that notable UK veterans Jim Wallhead, Abdul Mohamed, and Andre Winner were all selected to advance to the next round of casting and that the upcoming season will now feature fighters at 170 lbs and 155 lbs, which has replaced the previous announced division of 185 lbs for the show.

Report: Henderson, Franklin to Battle for TUF 9 Coaching Spot


Dan Henderson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a situation that was already heavily rumored to be taking place, the winner of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and former multi-division PRIDE title holder Dan Henderson’s light heavyweight battle at UFC 93 in January will be offered a coaching spot opposite Michael Bisping during the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show.

Brian Knapp of Sherdog.com reported the news on Monday, citing a Spike TV representative as confirming the scenario. Shooting for the show is expected to begin in late January, following the conclusion of UFC 93, which takes place on January 17 in Dublin, Ireland.

UFC President Dana White officially announced Bisping as one of the show’s coaches during Saturday evening’s post-fight press conference for UFC 89, where Bisping defeated fellow ‘TUF’ alumnus Chris Leben in the show’s three-round main event.

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Bisping to Serve as TUF 9 Coach


Michael Bisping. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC President Dana White has confirmed that British middleweight sensation Michael Bisping will serve as one of the coaches on the upcoming ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” regardless of the outcome of his fight against Chris Leben this weekend according to Fighters Only Magazine.

From the article:

Win, lose or draw, he will coach the British team,” White revealed.

White then revealed that Bisping’s opposite number on TUF 9 will be either Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson.

“We’re looking for the right fight,” he said, explaining that the chosen coach would have to be a “step up” from Bisping’s previous opponents. Asked if Henderson and Franklin were the two names on the shortlist, he confirmed: “That is who we are looking at.”

Henderson was previously rumored to be one of the UFC’s choices for the spot and a win over Rich Franklin in January would essentially make it a done deal. However a Franklin win would create a tough situation, considering it would be Franklin’s second straight victory over a highly rated opponent in the light heavyweight division. Would either Franklin or Bisping be willing to move up or down a weight class in order to be on the show again?

Kimbo Slice in the UFC? Never Say Never…


Kimbo Slice. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.

One would think that after all of the badmouthing UFC President Dana White has done concerning Kimbo Slice that the former street brawler would never make it inside the ranks of mixed martial arts’ biggest promotion. There’s a reason why they say that anything is possible.

At a launch party for Viking Studio’s new book “Fighter: The Fighters of the UFC”, USA Today’s Michael McCarthy caught up with White and asked him about the chances of ever seeing Slice in the UFC. The answer was expected, but still pretty surprising:

“I wasn’t going to offer Kimbo Slice a chance to fight in the UFC — but a chance to fight his way on to Ultimate Fighter. If you want to be in the UFC, go do the reality show,” said White.

Putting Slice, the EliteXC main eventer, at the lowest rung of the UFC pecking order would probably help Ultimate Fighter’s TV ratings. Would White still make the offer after Slice’s defeat Saturday?

“Maybe,” he says before walking off to chat with Hollywood actress Gina Gershon.

If there was ever a way to revive ‘TUF’ from the lackluster rapport it has gained with hardcore and casual fans alike, the inclusion of Kimbo Slice on a future season would certainly be the answer.

Reminder: “TUF 8” Premieres Tonight

The eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will premiere tonight following the conclusion of UFC Fight Night 15 at 10 PM ET on Spike. Interim UFC heavyweight title holder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former champion Frank Mir serve as this season’s coaches and will fight after the show’s finale at UFC 92 on December 27.

Both ‘TUF’ sections on Spike and the UFC‘s official websites have a good amount of videos previewing the show. The full list of fighters competing on the upcoming season is after the jump.

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Reminder: “TUF 1” Marathon Tomorrow


Forrest Griffin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Spike TV will be re-airing the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” as well as the show’s history-making finale and segments from a reunion special featuring select members from the original cast tomorrow starting at 9 AM ET.

A video preview of the reunion clips can be seen here. Among the cast members interviewed during the marathon will be Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Chris Leben, Mike Swick, Bobby Southworth, Nate Quarry, and Josh Koscheck.

Complete ‘TUF 8’ Cast Revealed


Frank Mir. Photo by Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com.

The complete 32-man cast for the upcoming eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir”, which will premiere on September 17th on Spike TV following the broadcast of UFC Fight Night 15, has been released.

Sports Illustrated, in conjunction with the UFC and Spike, posted the list on their official website this afternoon. Interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former title holder Frank Mir will serve as the show’s two coaches and are expected to fight at the UFC’s end-of-the-year show in December. This season will feature both light heavyweights and lightweights.

The full cast list is after the jump.

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Canadian Prospects Tapped for “TUF 8”


Lance Evans. Photo courtesy of TKO Championship Fighting.

MMA on Tap has learned that Canadian light heavyweight prospects Lance Evans and Ryan Jimmo have been selected as contestants for the upcoming eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, which will premiere on September 17th following the airing of UFC Fight Night 15 on Spike TV.

Evans is the younger brother of current UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans, who was the second season’s heavyweight winner close to three years ago. Although Evans is actually American, he’s been perfecting his craft in Quebec-based TKO Championship Fighting as of late, where he has split his last two bouts. After being knocked out by Martin Desilets in September 2005, Evans took a two-year hiatus before returning. He most recently defeated Bob Landry via first-round stoppage at TKO 31 last December.

Jimmo, a training partner of reigning Maximum Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Roger Hollett, is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. He last earned a firs-round TKO win over Jeff Lundburg at an Extreme Cage Combat event in March. Prior to that, Jimmo submitted World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Craig Zellner at MFC 15 in February.

Interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former title holder Frank Mir will serve as coaches on the show. Evans and Jimmo now join Vinicius “Pezao” Magalhaes and Shane Nelson as additional cast members that have been confirmed.

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