TUF 14 Ep 1: A New Hope
One of the keys to the UFC’s success in America has been the reality television show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). Many of the mainstays of its current line-up came from the first thirteen seasons of TUF. With all eyes on the UFC in light of it’s deal with Fox, season fourteen, the last season to air on Spike TV, becomes even more important.
Wisely, Zuffa has chosen to feature the two current lightest weight classes on this season. With the UFC looking to expand into other markets throughout the world, the lighter classes become even more important. While a lot of solid talent came over from the WEC takeover, hosting the featherweight and bantamweight divisions will, no doubt, create it’s future stars as the housemates gain exposure through the show.
Once they win their bout, the fighters are divided into two teams, selected by their coaches. At the end of the season, the coaches meet in the cage and fight. This season’s coaches are strident British fighter Michael Bisping, who as proven as a past TUF contestant and coach, and ex-Strikeforce contender Jason “Mayhem” Miller, known for his antics during his walk-ins and MTV’s Bully Beatdown as much as for his skills as a submission fighter. There is no question that sparks will fly between these two, setting up their fight perfectly, as there will be many people looking forward to seeing both of them get beaten.
With that as it’s contextual backdrop, TUF 14 premiered tonight with its fighter audition show. After last season’s lambasted choice to bring the fighters into the house without airing the fights that got them in, this season marks a return to form, with all of the audition fights being shown over the episode’s two hours.
32 fighters competed, and eight fighters in each division move on to the house, with team’s being selected in next week’s episode. Here’s the cast for TUF 14. For a complete list of audition fighters, click here.
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