Following the news that UFC 127 in Australia sold out in 15 minutes, Dana White told British journo and shampoo model Gareth Davies that the UFC was thinking about a UK vs Oz version of the Ultimate Fighter. We’ve been hearing about international TUFs for nearing two years now, but it finally looks like it’s going to start happening. Here’s Dana from before UFC 124 explaining the company’s plans for 2011:
“There will actually be three (international editions) before Canada,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of “TUF,” which launched in 2005 on Spike TV and sparked the UFC’s move into the mainstream. “We’ll get it done in 2011. There will be three, and then Canada will probably be fourth. I had thought we’d do Canada first.”
Currently, Spike TV plans only to air the usual U.S.-based versions of the series, the latest of which debuts March 30 with the “TUF 13″ season premiere.
However, whether it’s online or another broadcast outlet, White expects fans worldwide to be able to watch the international versions of “TUF.” To date, the competition-reality series has produced stars such as Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Ryan Bader, Joe Lauzon and others.
“We’re going to figure out how to get them to everybody,” he said.
In the past, White has hinted at the possibility of a Middle Eastern version of “TUF,” and he said Brazil, England and Mexico are possibilities, as well.
My no-brainer guess is the three will be UK, Middle East, and Brazil. What remains to be seen is who they’ll pull out of the rotation to coach these seasons, as well as who’ll end up saying “Do you want to be a fucking fighter?” in various foreign languages.
Maybe the Middle East version will be run by Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi royal recently aquitted of torture and rape charges. Fighters who pull a Gabe Ruediger and miss weight will be fed to tigers, while losing fighters will be sent out into the desert to fend for themselves. The winner wins a new SUV, and then gets to drive over the quarter-finalists with it. Sounds like good TV to me!