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Tag: TUF

UFC Booking Alert: Pat Healy vs. Jamie Varner Slated for UFC on Fox 9


(UFC lightweight Pat Healy, daring us to make a HHNNNGGGG reference in two consecutive posts. Nice try, buddy. / Photo via Getty)

UFC on Fox 9 is shaping up to be a straight-up excellent card. The latest solid matchup was just announced as Pat Healy and Jamie Varner square up opposite one another in a lightweight contest. Both men are coming off losses but, on paper, this looks like yet another exciting and evenly-matched bout for the December 14th event in Sacramento.

Varner lost his last outing against Gleison Tibau via split decision. Before that, Varner bested Melvin Guillard and before that, he lost a thrilling bout to Joe Lauzon via submission, which won Fight of the Night honors at UFC on FOX 4. Healy recently returned after a marijuana-metabolite suspension that turned his incredible UFC-debut win over Jim Miller into a no-contest, and recently lost a decision to fellow Strikeforce vet Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 165. (Yes, I had to copy and paste Khabib’s name. No, I will never remember how to spell or pronounce it.)

Joining Healy and Varner on the December 14th UFC on Fox 9 card are new lightweight champion Anthony Pettis defending his strap against Josh Thomson, and Carlos Condit and Matt Brown trying to tear each other’s hearts out in a welterweight contender showdown. Also, Court McGee and Kelvin Gastelum do battle in one of those, TUF vs. TUF type contests. Your predictions, please.

- Elias Cepeda

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Nick Newell Draws Keon Caldwell for August 10th WSOF Debut


(From left to right: Newell, and a Google Image Search result for “Black Assassin.” See, now *that* would be a competitive fight. / Nick photo courtesy of WSOF via MMAWeekly)

Looks like the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is serious about grooming and spotlighting recent signee Nick Newell. The lightweight prospect has been matched up with former Ultimate Fighter Season 13 competitor Keon “The Black Assassin” Caldwell at WSOF 4: Spong vs. DeAnda, August 10th at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

If you remember Keon Caldwell at all, it’s probably not in a good way. He’s the guy who voluntarily left TUF 13 shortly after arriving, a decision we thought was career suicide at the time. Caldwell has only competed once since then, scoring a TKO win over Jonathan Baldree, in July 2011. Caldwell has a 9-1 record overall, but most of his wins have come over fighters with losing records, and again, he hasn’t fought in nearly two years. Yikes. Our condolences go out to Caldwell’s family.

The undefeated Newell has yet to fight in 2013 but is coming off two straight first round finish wins, which brought his pro record to 9-0. The former XFC lightweight champion signed with the World Series of Fighting in hopes that he would get tougher fights against top lightweight free-agents, and eventually get signed by the UFC. This booking doesn’t exactly accomplish that.

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Ronda Rousey’s Mother Criticizes Last-Minute Announcement of Tate Replacing Zingano on TUF & in UFC Title Bout


(Somehow, she’s still scary in this photo)

So, remember when the UFC announced that Cat Zingano had to pull out of coaching The Ultimate Fighter opposite bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey as well as out of her title match with “Rowdy” and would be replaced by Meisha Tate. Everyone, except for Meisha Tatewas probably pretty bummed about Zingano’s injury but no one really seemed to care about how or when the UFC let the world, and Rousey know.

Well, according to Ronda’s mother Dr. Ana Maria Rousey DeMars, a former international Judo competitor, the UFC pulled a Urijah/Cruz/Barao-type announcement with Ronda being Faber in this instance, Meisha being Barao and finding out before Rousey that she would replace Zingano (the “Cruz” in this scenario) as coach and opponent. Alright, that messy analogy aside, Dr. Rousey DeMars used her blog to take issue with her daughter getting surprised and finding out later than Meisha that the two would fight one another again for the sake of providing a dramatic television moment for The Ultimate Fighter.

“When I heard about the last-minute switch in coaches for the show Ronda is on, my first thought was, ‘That’s a pretty dick move,’ Ana Maria wrote.

“Not so much replacing Cat, who was injured (ouch!) but keeping it from Ronda until the last minute. If you’re going to have an athletic competition, then it should be fair. Among other things, that means you don’t give one competitor information that the other doesn’t have. You don’t let one player know something weeks in advance of the other player.”

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Ratings Update: UFC 156 Prelims Set Record Numbers, Epic KO Fails to Boost TUF 17


(“I’LL ASK YOU ONE MORE TIME, JAY, WHO TATTOOED THIS AFFLICTION SHIRT TO YOUR BACK?!”) 

If the first month is any indication, 2013 is going to be a good year for MMA. There hasn’t been a significant injury in weeks (sorry Patricky), title fights are almost starting to make sense, and on top of it all, the UFC’s primetime ratings are slowly beginning their climb out of the abyss. Throw in the fact that Bruce Buffer’s upcoming autobiography is all but a shoe-in for a Pulitzer and we are left with little to complain about. It feels…good.

So before we jinx ourselves, let’s get to the great news regarding the preliminary portion of UFC 156, which was able to pull in record numbers during its run on FX last Saturday despite the fact that it featured several debuting fighters and not a lot of name power. As MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer reports:

Saturday’s UFC 156 prelims drew 1,897,000 viewers, topping the previous UFC on FX record of 1,860,000 viewers set two weeks earlier for the Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping card from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The number was a huge increase from the prelims on FX on Jan. 26 before the FOX network special from Chicago’s United Center which did 1,208,000 viewers.

The largest previous audience on FX for prelims before a big show came on July 7 when theUFC 148 prelims did 1.8 million viewers. But that was to be expected, since there was more interest in UFC on that day with the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen middleweight title rematch than any day over the past two years. 

After almost ten minutes of research, we have determined that there are only two real explanations for the UFC’s sudden viewership jump:

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TUF or WTF?: A Season-by-Season Retrospective of The Ultimate Fighter


(Thanks to tufentertainment.net for the fitting logo.)

By Nathan Smith

With the recent announcement that Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin have been named as the coaches for the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter series, the MMA universe immediately launched into a full-blow orgasmic ticker-tape parade complete with tons of flying confetti and a marching band belting out death metal tunes. Once I heard the news, it was as if my life instantaneously turned into a beer commercial and the entire Potato Nation was invited. There was a rad pool-party, barbeque, a plethora of hotties, endless alcohol, and an overall quest for fun.

Well . . . . . actually, none of that happened. In fact, when word spread that Nelson and Carwin would helm the next season of TUF, it was officially filed under “WTF?” Judging from the comment section, most of the CP brethren didn’t care for the choices either. TUF is coming off a season that saw the ratings dip lower than they ever had, which could partially be blamed on the move to FX and the dreaded Friday night time slot. Regardless of the variables for the ratings drop, something drastic needs to be done, but is anybody really convinced that Carwin and Nelson are the answer to TUF’s slow and painful demise? Let’s start from the beginning and take a look back to see if this runaway train can be coaxed back onto the main rail.

The Season That Started it All 

The inaugural season of TUF featured future Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as the competing coaches who would go mano y mano at the PPV after the season finale. For fans of the UFC, that was good enough for most to initially tune in for the Fertitta-funded experiment. It still remains the best crop of young talent and personalities to ever grace the show; future stars like Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez, Mike Swick, Kenny Florian, and Nate Quarry were all complete unknowns vying for stardom in a fledgling sport. You mix in the whole “fatherless bastard” angle and the show was off and running even before the awe-inspiring climax between (pre TRT) FoGrif and The American Psycho. Even before that, we were treated to the greatest speech of all time that has since been condensed into a few words. “Do you wanna be a fighter?” Though there were other memorable moments from the seasons that followed, Zuffa should have quit while they were ahead because it would never be this good again. The unrefined personification of immature talent, undeniable aspirations and gonzo-sized balls oozed from the boob tube during every episode.

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The Ultimate Fighter Live: Cruz vs. Faber Episode 2 Recap

By Elias Cepeda

Jon Anik’s silky voice talks us in to episode two of The Ultimate Fighter 15, telling us we’re less than an hour away from tonight’s live fight. We’re about to see what happened this past week in TUFlandia but right now there are two hooded fighters warming up with their backs to the camera in their respective lock rooms.

Could it be? Yes…those two (at present) nameless and faceless fighters will fight each other tonight but we will have to wait and see who they are. Cheesy, but kinda cool. Another new element of this debuting hybrid taped/live TUF format. Also, there’s a fight clock on the bottom right hand of the screen, ticking down.

The 16 winning fighters from last week’s elimination round pull up to the TUF mansion and once again we see a new crop of young fighters enthusiastically explore their new digs with the type of giddiness that can only lead us to believe that they’ve never watched past seasons and thus don’t realize how completely miserable it can be to be locked in that house. Happens every season.

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MMA GIF Party: All the Finishes From ‘The Ultimate Fighter Live’ Episode 1


(It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, with one lucky winner picking up a six-figure UFC contract and an immediate shot at Aaron Riley. / Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TUF)

In case you weren’t able to watch Friday night’s marathon premiere of The Ultimate Fighter Live — or read our thoroughly detailed recap — here’s the short version: The porn-star will not be moving into the house, Jon Tuck nearly got his toe ripped off, and half of the 16 one-round fights ended via stoppage. Follow us after the jump, and we’ll show you every single one of those stoppages, in a series of GIFs courtesy of IronForgesIron. Enjoy, and let us know who you think will go all the way…

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The Ultimate Fighter Live: Cruz vs. Faber Episode 1 Recap

By Elias Cepeda

Over the better part of a decade, The Ultimate Fighter reality fighting competition show has seen a number of different format changes and gimmicks, from coaches set to fight for titles and nominally famous singer eye candy hosts, to veterans given a second chance in the UFC with title shots as the prizes. But three things have always stayed constant – the show airing on Spike, seasons being taped months before airing, and fighters in the house being treated to all you could drink liquor buffets while simultaneously being asked to maintain the UFC’s high standards of sober living.

We can only hope that the last item doesn’t change this year, but the first two already have. With the new season of TUF being aired on FX, the UFC has decided to try something new and air all fights live every Friday night. Friday night 32 UFC hopefuls, TUF head coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, Prez Dana White and a variety of other Nevada judges, referees and oddly placed celebrities in the crowd, gathered in the UFC training center in Las Vegas for 16 fights to determine who got to be in the TUF house for the next three months.

Here’s the action, tater nation, in the present tense, as fast as we could type it all.

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SPIKE TV’s Secret Weapon in the War Against TUF’s Move to FX: Kimbo Slice, What Else?


(“Does it matter that I’m no longer an MMA fighter? I can still analyticate what went down on the show, can’t I?”)

SPIKE TV announced today that it has hired UFC washout, and arguably the promotion’s biggest fringe draw next to Brock Lesnar, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, to host its new weekly Friday night TUF repeat show, “The Ultimate Fighter Fridays.”


(Video courtesy of YouTube/CagePotato)

The three-hour premiere episode will air March 9, which, not coincidentally is opposite  episode 1 of FX’s The Ultimate Fighter Live, at 9:00 pm ET on SPIKE, and will feature Slice’s recollections from his six weeks in the fighter house.

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32 TUF 15 Finalists Revealed for Inaugural FX Season


(Video courtesy of YouTube/UFC)

The UFC announced the full roster for the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX. Included in the 32-man lightweight and middleweight season, which features UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and former WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber as coaches, are fighters from the U.S. UK, Ireland and Brazil.

“We’re producing ground-breaking television with The Ultimate Fighter Live and we can’t wait to kick this season off with FX. It’s going to be can’t-miss TV,” UFC president Dana White said of the upcoming season. “Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are two amazing guys who also happen to be two of the best fighters in the world. They genuinely dislike each other and I expect this to make for the best season yet.”

Season 15 of TUF will run for 13-consecutive weeks and will feature live fights every show, including 16 qualifying bouts in the two-and-a-half-hour-episode on Friday, March 9 at 9:00 pm ET.

The championship bout will air live on June 1 during the three-hour finale on FX.

A second season of the show for the year will air this summer on FX.

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