"TUF" changes include live fights beginning with season 15 on FX
After 14 seasons, "TUF" is going live.
Among many of the changes forthcoming in the wake of the UFC's new deal with FOX, the promotion's flagship reality show is undergoing a major overhaul for its 15th season, which is scheduled to air in spring 2012 on FOX subsidiary FX.
The show's fights will now air live each week, as opposed to pre-taped and aired over the course of a 12-week season, FOX and UFC officials said today during a press conference in Los Angeles.
A two-hour live season premiere will feature the reality show tournament's elimination round. As with previous seasons of "TUF," 32 fighters will square off for the right to remain on the show, and coaches will select teams from the 16 remaining fighters.
But unlike the show's previous incarnation, the audience at home will have a say in who fights who, texting in their votes "American Idol" style. Following each fight, a new vote is put up.
As before, the lead-up to the live fight will serve as a behind-the-scenes look at the contestants' lives in the fighter house.
"What happened that week will be airing on FX Friday night followed by a live fight,” said FX President John Landgraf.
Finalists will square off in a live finale on FX. Additionally, the two head coaches selected for the show will also conduct their training camps at the same time as the show as it builds toward a pay-per-view meeting.
Brock Lesnar Announces 'I'm Back!' - 100% Healthy and Wants to be Champion Again
"What's new in the life of Brock Lesnar? Well, recently I went under the knife and had surgery for my diverticulitis. I feel like a new man, I feel great, healthy, strong - I feel like I used to feel."
"Right now [it's] one day at a time for me. My future, I believe there's still a bright future in the UFC for me. My health is a hundred percent. I feel great, my motivation is there and I want to get on the map again, I want to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion again and I believe I will do that."
- Brock Lesnar
*There is a video after the jump*
Diego Nunes Wanted to Fight Manny Gamburyan Due to 'Unresolved Issues'
Manny Gamburyan was forced to pull out of his scheduled UFC 135 bout with Diego Nunes yesterday due to an injury, and it appears that no one is more disappointed than Diego himself. Nunes has apparently had issues with Gamburyan in the past that led him to actually request the matchup. He spoke to Tatame about it:
"It was a big surprise because I was really enjoying fighting this guy, with whom I have some unresolved issues with. I was sad because I really wanted it. From all fighters he's the one I still have unresolved issues with", stated Diego
Chael Sonnen Responds to Lyoto Machida and Jose Aldo's Criticisms
Ask people about Chael Sonnen's mic work, and you're bound to receive a list of polarizing adjectives in return: funny, racist, xenophobic, mean, unprofessional, over-the-top, entertaining, rude, rambling, and so on. I prefer irreverent. I like irreverent. I also like absurd, and it's amusing to me that people take Sonnen's words to heart considering how weird and absurd and audacious he tends to be.
Brazil's Terra Esportes spoke with Lyoto Machida and Jose Aldo about Sonnen's proclivity for promo (translation by Tom Mendes):
"Everyone has their own way of hyping a fight," says Machida. "My way is inside the Octagon. It's my fight. The media gives a lot of opportunity in the virtue of MMA growth in the world and he takes advantage of that, he knows how to market and sell himself well."
FOX Schedules Major Press Conference for Thursday, Several UFC Fighters Head to LA
On Tuesday, news reports first began to surface that the UFC had struck a deal with FOX on a new multiyear agreement to move over to the network in 2012.
It appears now the two companies are just about ready to announce the deal.
It was released on Wednesday by John Ourand from Sports Business Daily that FOX executives were in Los Angeles for a press conference currently scheduled for Thursday that would be ‘one of the biggest announcements in FOX Sports history’.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Aaron Rosa slated for UFC on Versus 6 prelims
A pair of light heavyweights looking to return to the win column collide in October with Fabio Maldonado taking on Aaron Rosa.
UFC officials today announced the contest, which takes place at UFC on Versus 6.
"Two exciting light-heavyweight sluggers have verbally agreed to throw down Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C., as Aaron Rosa takes on Fabio Maldonado," UFC president Dana White stated.
Kampmann versus Story on tap for UFC 139
A bout between welterweight contenders who are looking to get back in the win column is in the works for UFC 139.
UFC officials today announced Martin Kampmann (17-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and Rick Story (13-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) have agreed to meet at the Nov. 19 event.
UFC 139 takes place in San Jose, Calif., likely at the HP Pavilion.
The night's main card, including an expected heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos, airs on pay-per-view. Kampmann vs. Story likely will be part of the PPV broadcast or an expected "UFC Prelims" special on Spike TV.
Both fighters are coming off high-profile losses.
Sam Stout: Autopsy Showed Shawn Tompkins Died of Heart Attack
Shawn Tompkins, the renowned mixed martial arts trainer that died on Sunday morning, passed away of a heart attack, according to his brother-in-law, UFC fighter Sam Stout.
Under Ontario law, privacy exemptions keep autopsy information from public view, but Stout revealed the results of the Monday autopsy to The London Free Press, an Ontario newspaper.
"I don't know what to say," Stout told the paper. "It's not supposed to be happen to a healthy 37-year-old person. Who would think he had to get checked out for that?"
Dana White Calls Yushin Okami the Best Japanese Fighter Ever
UFC President Dana White is fond of saying that the only way to prove you're the best fighter in the world is to do it in the UFC. It's not that there aren't any good fighters in other promotions, White believes, it's just that the only fighters who consistently test themselves against the best in the world are the ones who do it inside the Octagon.
By that rationale, White says Yushin Okami -- who will fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 134 -- is the greatest Japanese fighter in MMA history.
"In my opinion, Yushin Okami is the best fighter ever to come out of Japan," White said. "This guy didn't fight cans and get this built-up, mythological record."
John Howard Campaigning for Fight With Dan Hardy
There are quite a few people that aren't overly impressed with the fact that Dan Hardy still has a job despite four straight losses in the UFC. One of them is John "Doomsday" Howard. Howard, who was recently released after three straight losses, is understandably a little peeved.
UFC 139 confirmed for San Jose, adds Rafael dos Anjos vs. Gleison Tibau
As expected, UFC 139 will take place in San Jose, Calif.
UFC brass today officially announced the card will take place in San Jose. Although a venue was not named, the card is expected to take place at HP Pavilion, a longtime home to sister promotion Strikeforce.
Additionally, the promotion also announced Brazilians Rafael dos Anjos and Gleison Tibau will meet at the event.
UFC on Versus 5 ratings: Versus broadcast averages 766,000 viewers
"UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle," which aired this past Sunday night on Versus, drew an average audience of 768,000 viewers.
The number marks a minor increase from the 744,000 viewers who witnessed June's UFC on Versus 4 event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today obtained the figures from industry sources.
The number qualifies as third-highest in the series' history...
Alistair Overeem Says He Is Not Cut From Strikeforce, Wants an Immediate UFC Title Shot
The latest chapter in the Zuffa vs. Golden Glory discussion sounds like good news for fans of The Reem. According to both Overeem himself and Golden Glory head Bas Boon, Alistair Overeem has not in fact been cut from Strikeforce or stripped of the Heavyweight title.
Overeem sat down with MMA Bay to discuss this whole situation, saying that he is in a negotiation period with the UFC. He also added that he's ready to come to the UFC, and he wants an immediate shot at the Heavyweight title:
I am in an exclusive negotiation period [with the UFC]. If we can find common ground, we can work together, and if we can't, then we're going to depart. I want to fight in the UFC. They have the best guys, but it has to be at the right terms. So, we're just going to have to wait and see.
Jon Fitch cleared to fight, sources say UFC 139 appearance possible
Perennial welterweight contender Jon Fitch can now resume his career.
The American Kickboxing Academy product today Tweeted that his doctor has cleared him to begin training once again following a serious shoulder injury that scratched a rematch with B.J. Penn.
"I'm back!" Fitch wrote today. "Dr. Kavitne gave me the OK to fight."
UFC and FOX reportedly sign deal
UFC and Fox agreed to a deal for seven to eight years, starting in 2012, Sports Business Daily reports. While the agreement calls for up to four UFC shows a year on the Fox network, most of UFC's programming currently carried by Spike TV and Versus would move to Fox's FX and Fuel cable channels, the industry trade publication says.
Spike has been UFC's primary cable outlet since the 2005 debut of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Ratings for UFC's live programming -- Fight Night shows and preliminary cards before pay-per-views -- have remained relatively stable over the years. TUF ratings remain in the 1.0 range despite a time shift to accommodate Spike's new Coal program.
But the audience for UFC's taped shows has fallen, Sports Business Daily notes:
Sources said Spike ultimately passed over concern that its UFC shoulder programming stopped growing. Shows like Unleashed,Knockouts and Countdown averaged 1 million viewers in '05. This year, they are averaging 492,000.
Bidding for UFC's programs reportedly reached $90 million annually, Money has never been the only factor considered by Zuffa, which views free TV in North America as a vehicle for exposure and promotion for its core product, pay-per-view entertainment.
"We're never going to be in a situation where we're making money on those networks," UFC President Dana White said earlier this year. "We'll have to come out in a situation where we break even. That works."
Although Zuffa has negotiated with commercial networks before, as well as HBO, talks usually broke down over control issues. Zuffa has always insisted on keeping control of the broadcast, which is generally anthema to sports networks.
Sports Business Daily did not say whether the Fox deal was with the network's sports arm or its entertainment division.
Manny Gamburyan Injured and Out of UFC 135 Bout Against Diego Nunes
Manny Gamburyan has suffered a shoulder injury and has been forced out of his UFC 135 fight against Diego Nunes.
Gamburyan announced the news via his Twitter account on Monday.
“I’m off from the UFC 135 card, I hurt my shoulder and MRI is not looking good,” Gamburyan wrote. “I just wanna say sorry to all my friends and fans, I’ll be back!”
After latest win, re-energized Jens Pulver has no plans for slowing down
Jens Pulver said he's found a winning recipe for success in MMA. Or more accurately, one for finding success again.
The former UFC champ got back on the winning track this past Saturday with a second-round KO victory over WEC vet Coty Wheeler (14-4), and today, he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) about the ingredients that have gone into his reinvention.
Mostly, it's about limiting his appetites between fights.
"People want to know the biggest thing that makes a difference? I'm not going to go out after this fight and get up to 195 pounds, 20 percent body fat, sit for three months, and then go, 'Oh, it's fight time again?' Then spend my entire camp trying to get in shape," Pulver (25-15-1) said of his pay-per-view win at "MMA Fight Pit: Genesis." "That's how I rolled for the last four years.
"Now, I'm 156 this morning with six percent body fat, and I'm training this afternoon."
There, he'll don a jiu-jitsu gi and work with trainer and fighter Jeff Curran, with whom he took residence with this past November. The gym boasts a stable of impressive newcomers and veterans alike, but Pulver gave special attention to Curran's cousin, Pat Curran, who is scheduled to meet Marlon Sandro in the finals of the Bellator "Summer Series" bantamweight tournament on Saturday.
"I think Pat Curran, he definitely leads the way," Pulver said. "That's a powerful kid. He's leading the charge, dominating people in Bellator. It's hard not to follow."
Pulver has struggled to overcome mental blocks in 12 years of competition, and in recent years, he has met a rising tide of critics who say he should hang up his four-ounce gloves. As for now, he's ignoring them. The only appetite he's looking to feed is new information gleaned from the gym...
Dan Hardy in no hurry to return to UFC, will consider all options in and out of the cage
In the main event of Sunday's UFC on Versus 5 card, British slugger Dan Hardy finally got the fight for which he had long pined.
And yet somehow, even though fellow scrapper Chris Lytle stood in front of him for a little more than 14 minutes, Hardy still came up short.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta put an end to all speculation by tweeting post-fight that Hardy will get at least one more fight in the octagon. But "The Outlaw" isn't quite sure when he'll take the UFC co-owner up on the offer.