Rumours were circulating of The Ultimate Fighter season 11 to feature Georges “Rush” St Pierre and Brit welterweight challenger Dan “Outlaw” Hardy as coaches. Recently it has now been confirmed Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Tito Ortiz are booked in as TUF 11 coaches.
Channel 5 once again pick up the deal to the host the series on UK TV, scheduled to air spring 2010.
Previously free-view channel Virgin 1 aired the UK vs US season of the Ultimate Fighter. Following TUF 9, the MMA reality show was picked up by Sky owned Channel 5, airing the recent Heavyweights season every Saturday night on their free-view channel FIVE USA.
Channel 5 had this to say:
“We have acquired the rights to Series 11 but no broadcast dates are scheduled at the moment”.
“We currently only have an agreement to broadcast five UFC Main Event programmes and are planning to transmit UFC 105 on Sunday 3rd January.”
TUF: 11 premieres in March and sees former UFC light-heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz renew hostilities as they coach 16 middleweights en route to a third meeting in the Octagon.
The Iceman, 40, was a coach on the first season in 2005, either side of TKO victories over Ortiz in 2004 and 2006.
This is why I enjoy the UFC so much, the booking. More often than not there is a question to be answered, where we receive the answer inside the octagon. Will it be like before? Has he still got it. Is he back on form? It works well to have that element of intrigue and draw on their old rivalry.
Perhaps if they chose GSP and Dan Hardy as the fight to build up on weekly TV it wouldn’t have quite the same intrigue? Sure Hardy has knockout power but is he worthy of that elite bracket as St Pierre? Most UFC experts would say no, although that is not taking anything away from the worthiness of Hardy as challenger to the gold.
The Ultimate Fighter season 11 is a long way off, the light-heavyweight scrap between octagon legends Liddell and Ortiz is even further off but I’m looking forward to it already, can’t wait! Ortiz is sure as ever to be great for TV.
Merry Christmas to all BluRayMMA.com website visitors, from myself and the rest of the team. Be sure to browse the site after Christmas to read new DVD reviews, which may help you choose what to spend your Christmas money on.
Have a safe and happy Christmas!
UFC & MMA blog by Duane Farr
It has finally been confirmed this morning, The Ultimate Fighting Championship no longer has a deal with Setanta Sports. The decision had to be made sooner rather than later as the UFC builds up to UFC 100.
As things stand Setanta is still in business but the ailing sports subscription channel is a sinking ship, Marshall Zelaznik made the right decision to jump now.
The question remains of where the UFC will find as their new home in the British Isles? Gareth A Davies of the Daily Telegraph speculates on a return to Bravo or a move to Virgin 1, Sky Sports or even Channel 5. Another possibility is Disney owned sports network ESPN who are buying the rights to the big football games.
Whatever channel the UFC moves to it is good timing to make the jump now rather than nearer July 11th, as no Brit UFC fan wants to miss UFC 100.
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.