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CagePotato Open Discussion: Could an All-Female Season Save The Ultimate Fighter?

For that matter, could Good Guy Junior have saved last season?

We’rejust finishing up with a season of The Ultimate Fighter that most of us didn’t even pretend to watch, and are getting ready for a season that we’ll only watch to see how creatively Chael Sonnen can troll Jon Jones. Okay, perhaps some of us actually want to watch TUF for less cynical reasons – say because it’s free MMA or to see if the show discovers a legitimate fighter who has slipped through the cracks - just like how some professional football fans actually keep up with the UFL.

With the show in desperate need of a mix-up, Dana White has been open to the idea of casting Ronda Rousey as a coach, while still keeping the contestants themselves men. The idea picked up even more steam yesterday when White suggested that Ronda Rousey could be coaching against Miesha Tate on an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. Via MMAFighting:

“It could happen,” White said. “If there’s two people who would probably coach, you kick [the idea] around, this could happen, that could happen. If they did, it could be [Rousey] and Miesha. You know, we’ll see. Timing has a lot do with it.”

Having Rousey and Tate coach a season of TUF is an interesting idea on paper. The show would give WMMA exposure, Rousey and Tate would have some memorable clashes throughout the season and the season-ending coaches’ fight would actually be meaningful. It may not be a drastic change, but simply making two skilled female fighters coaches may be able to regenerate interest in the show.

But if the UFC really wants to give the show a complete overhaul, why not cast an all-female season?

My biggest gripe with The Ultimate Fighter is that the show hasn’t been producing relevant fighters, because talented prospects no longer have to go through reality television in order to get a shot in the UFC. Case in point, Hacran Dias was a 20-1-1 fighter when he tried out for TUF Brazil. Rather than being sent through the show, Dias was offered a contract on the spot, and won his UFC debut over Yuri Alcantara at UFC 147. The lesson here is that if you have a shot at immediate relevance, you aren’t fighting on The Ultimate Fighter anymore.

An all-female season could be different because WMMA is still in the early stages of its development. Much like how the first two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter made plenty of previously unknown fighters staples in the UFC for years, it’s possible that there are enough skilled females flying far enough under our radars to be willing to go through a season of TUF in order to land a contract.

For that matter, it’s also possible that established female fighters like Sara McMann would be willing to compete on the show simply because WMMA gets practically zero exposure. Just look at the first article we wrote about Ronda Rousey. When Strikeforce first inked a deal with her, she was…some sort of vegan Olympic judoka, I guess? In hindsight, it’s comical that the collective MMA community wasn’t  shitting bricks over such an important signing, but we simply hadn’t heard of her until then. It’s very possible that even more potentially great fighters are going undiscovered due to the lack of coverage that WMMA has been receiving.

The catch is that while fans are more than happy to accept Ronda Rousey as a world-class athlete, they may still not be ready to accept WMMA as a legitimate competition. Female athletes in America simply do not receive the same coverage as their male counterparts, which may make the TUF formula even more stale with the inclusion of women. For example, will an altercation in the TUF house between two women be interpreted by viewers the same way as an altercation between two male contestants, or dismissed as just petty female drama? Logically, the sexes of the contestants shouldn’t make a difference, but it does, and it could wind up turning even more people away from the struggling franchise. 

So that leads us directly into our question: Assuming that the editting crews do their best to portray the fighters in a positive light and as serious athletes (i.e. none of this), do you think an all-female season can save The Ultimate Fighter? Would you be more likely to watch the show if Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate are coaches? And what are the odds that something like this happens if they’re coaching an all-male season? Keep it civil, you guys.


Cagepotato Comments

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crappiefloper- December 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm
I would love to see that. Let hungry, half rabid fighters FIGHT for a contract.
smellypiratehooker- December 24, 2012 at 7:45 am
So what you're saying is lock a bunch of girls in a house with no means of entertainment and nothing but alcohol? What ever did happen to "Girls gone wild"??
cman- December 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm
I say take the same concept except they are competing for a combo UFC and porn contract and you have to qualify for both. Coaches challenge should be more interesting anyway.
mma4ever- December 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm
I kinda feel bad for saying this but ill give it a shot if there hot.but dam i know its gonna suck
Thumblaster- December 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm
I barely give a shit about the girls that are relavant much less a house full of unknowns.however after watching more womens mma than i'd ever imagined I would (less than 10 fights) some of these chicks can take a fucking beating and they don't give up ( no chris brown references please. That was ok he's so talented) the women got alot of heart. I'd give the show a chance.
mma4ever- December 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm
That show is gonna suck big time . If these past seasons have stank with shitty fights imagine how slappy it will be with a all female roster. I wouldn't take pointers from a women on how to fight it just aint right
angry little feet- December 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm
I still watch the show. Sure, maybe that's because I have nothing better to be doing on a Friday night. This is beside the point.
I think an all female season would be a great idea. There's definitely enough talented female fighters out there to make it an interesting season.
Also TUF Brazil was the best season so far IMHO.
2DaDeath- December 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Women's UF would make some great reality TV. Nothing could be more dramatic than a house full of crazy bitches. You think Leben and Warmachine have daddy issues? Plus the occasional nipple slip and you've got ratings gold!
Mr_Misanthropy- December 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm
It does add a whole new dimension to semen pranks...
Mr_Misanthropy- December 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm
I totally agree with your main point and think that it goes hand in hand with something I said a couple of months ago. Yes there is over saturation and yes there is a definite lack of meaningful talent on the show. It is also hard to tell from the opening episode who is really UFC caliber. Look at how many people won their way into the house by an impressive KO last season only to put on fights that were less interesting than a pre-school sand box squabble once taping began.

I think a good solution to the banality of the show would be to broadcast the foreign seasons here also. It would make the show much more interesting to American audiences and also give them a chance to get to know and care about the obscure foreign fighters that the UFC digs up. Maybe they could do a US show once every three or four seasons. They should be marketing that product to foreign markets also.

It seems to me that a better global strategy would be to have a uniform and inclusive brand globally and not to fragment it to ultra local pandering in new foreign markets. Having ten seasons of the ultimate fighter going at all times and holding events in ten different foreign markets at the same time doesn't seem very sustainable to me. It seems like it would be better to market the idea of a level and universal playing field in which the best fighters from around the globe have an opportunity to get a contract and compete.
SethF- December 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm
Definitely agree with the last point. How little of a shit did we all give about the Smashes finale? And I would have loved to see the fighters from TUF Brazil.
Alan K- December 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm
Would an all-female season save The Ultimate Fighter? Doubtful, but they should do it anyway. It'd be an excellent way to bring in more female fighters that the fans will be at least somewhat interested to see fight due to the exposure the show would give them.
Ninjanate- December 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm
Just imagine Ronda's coaching staff, the Diaz's and Cesar. That won't implode.
CWill859- December 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm
So how would this be any different from the Bad Girls Club show? I mean it would have to be picked up by like Oxygen or Lifetime. I don't see this maintaining the viewership needed to run it successfully.
monkeyknuckler- December 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm
All girl cast would be great: pillow fights, waxing and gossip. Too bad it would also have to include bad sense of humor and crying.
Fried Taco- December 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm
It could save the show if they are forced to wear thong bikinis while fighting, and have to be nude in the house. Then we could all talk about how ugly they are and that we have seen so many much hotter women.
NomadRip- December 22, 2012 at 11:36 am
As the one CP commenter that still watches the show, I think it'd be a good thing. I'm glad she came to her senses with that vegan bullshit.