THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: US v UK ON VIRGIN 1
Television’s toughest reality series returns for its ninth season as ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ premieres on Virgin 1, Sunday April 5 at 11pm.
Over 1000 of the best undiscovered mixed martial artists from two continents auditioned for the new season, all hoping to make it all the way to the finale, where one welterweight and one lightweight will win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R).
This season though, it is country v country as UK star Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping leads a team of British hopefuls against US Olympian and former two-division world MMA champion Dan Henderson’s United States team. The hit show is a 12 x 1 hour reality series with a multi hour finale based around the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, The Ultimate Fighting Championship(R).
Marshall Zelaznik, the President of the UFC’s UK Division, said: “This season will be the most exciting ever with not just a pair of six-figure UFC contracts on the line but also national pride. None of these fighters wants to let his country down and – with so much on the line – the fights themselves are the most spectacular in TUF history.
“I can think of no better mixed martial artist than Bisping to lead the British into battle. Not only is Mike the most successful fighter to emerge from the UK, but as a former TUF champion from season 3, Mike knows exactly what it takes to win this thing.”
Daniela Neumann, Director of Programmes for Virgin1, said: “The Ultimate Fighter is a very strong brand with a very loyal following. UK vs USA is the perfect way to bring the fighting brand to our audience. Of course we know who we are rooting for.”
Season nine of the wildly successful original series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” features 16 lightweights (155lbs, 11stone 1lbs) and 16 welterweights (170lbs, 12stone 2lbs).
In the first two episodes the 32 contestants must fight their way into the Ultimate Fighter House by winning a preliminary bout; only the winners will be flown to Las Vegas to the Ultimate Fighter house to live and train alongside UFC icons Bisping and Henderson.
During the six-week taping of “The Ultimate Fighter: United States Vs. United Kingdom,” the 16 men who survived the prelims endured a gruelling daily regimen of Jiu-jitsu, judo, Muay Thai, karate, boxing and wrestling. The intense competition between the fighters continues after they leave the gym as these modern day gladiators must live together in the same house, knowing that any day they may be called upon to fight each other in the famed UFC Octagon™.
Each victory brings the fighter closer to his dream of a contract with the world’s elite mixed martial arts organisation. The four finalists will square off in a live finale Saturday, June 20, when the two weight class winners will be declared “The Ultimate Fighter”.
- The news is huge for MMA fans and the UFC in Blighty, giving the sport huge exposure on Virgin 1 a channel free to view on if you own a standard Freeview receiver or use Virgin Media or Sky. It is a fantastic deal giving the sport much needed exposure to the wider public of the UK.
A good move from Virgin Media, Setanta and the UFC by giving the weekly reality TV style fight show for free giving TUF 9 an audience of over 22 million UK homes.
Plus it will give people a reason to subscribe to Setanta Sports to see the big events including the TUF 9 final and UFC 100 that is scheduled to feature Dan ‘Hendo’ Henderson and Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping in the battle of the team coaches.
So make sure you see it first this Sunday at 11pm on Virgin 1! If you do happen to miss and are a subscriber to Setanta Sport don’t worry as you can catch it again on Wednesday at 10pm.
All we need next is for Strikeforce to strike up a deal on British television. TUF on Virgin 1 is sure to do well so there is a possibility a competitor to Virgin 1 such as Channel 5 could pick it up.
What a great start to British summertime for mixed martial arts fans.