There’s a strange back and forth going on right now where press is announcing that next season’s The Ultimate Fighter is going to be on Wednesday, followed by UFC and FX saying no it’s not. Officially, they say, we have not decided on a date. Not Friday. But other than that, no date. This may be because they’re afraid of Spike counter-programming them with Bellator’s upcoming TUF clone. An FX exec even went so far as to say ‘Spike TV better watch it’s ass’, which doesn’t sound insecure at all.
As for what the Bellator TUF (or BUF as I shall dub it) is gonna be like, it’s a secret so far. What we do know is it’s being produced by the guy behind the Amazing Race, and while that might seem positive to you I’d like to note that all his other TV shows have been stupid as dirt. But don’t worry! Bellaprez Bjorn Rebney is promising one thing:
“There are some wickedly good pros on this show,” he told MMAjunkie.com. “I think we have the greatest collection of talent that’s ever been on a reality show in this genre.”
Like we haven’t heard something like that from Dana White 16 times before. I personally look forward to them fielding that crop of future stars without being able to dip into their vast collection of Eastern European fighters.
I can understand why Dana White and FOX may be leery of Bellator. UFC brass have seen several parallels between the MMA and pro wrestling business and the last thing they need is Bellator becoming the WCW to their WWE through a Monday Night Wars type situation.
The UFC has survived a nearly endless list of silly acronym promotions, but this is a well run competitor with a good TV deal and (theoretically) Viacom backing. They are the greatest threat to UFC hegemony in the history of the sport. That said, they’ll probably cock it up and be gone in three years, but anything is possible and if BUF is on another channel at the same time as TUF and their fights are way better, who knows. There could be a Griffoniski vs Bonnarov moment over there.