While longtime viewers of “The Ultimate Fighter” continue to plead for the UFC to do something, anything to shake up the show’s stale formula, Zuffa, LLC. remains unwavering in its plans to take the reality series global with a number of American Idol-style international spin-offs. So says Dana White during the above recent public appearance, where he outlines future plans for the foreign and American ‘TUFs’ to culminate at the same live finale in a kind of intercontinental smorgasbord of violence.
“What we’re doing now is we’re working on ways to get ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in other countries,” White says. At this point some enterprising soul in the audience (we assume it’s either Russell or Helwani) yells, ‘Canada!’ but White carries on without acknowledging him: “And then, you know when we do the finales? The finale would be all the countries (will) come together and everybody fights.”
We’re pretty sure he doesn’t mean all at once, but still …
Honestly, this idea sounds halfway cool if Big DW and the Zuffa machine can actually pull it off. It would be intriguing to have winners from, say, China, Mexico, Brazil and America all meet at the same show to decide who is the world’s best TUF contestant. Also, White is tossing around some pretty staggering viewership numbers for UFC programming here, numbers that will reportedly more than double if the promotion can continue to unlock overseas markets like China and India.
“Right now, a lot of people don’t realize, we’re in a half a billion homes all over the world,” he says. “The deal that we’re working on now, that should be done (soon), will put us in over a billion homes worldwide. That’s crazy.”
Yeah, that actually is crazy.
One point in Zuffa’s favor about the planned TUF expansion: International audiences may not have seen the show before and therefore may not be as sick and tired of it as those of us on the home front. Still, these lofty plans raise a ton of questions.
For starters, I’m not sure how well the TUF format will translate to certain cultures. Smashing up a mansion and pissing in fruit trays is fine for American TV, but will that shit fly in mainland China? Also, with all these different TUFs going on all over the world, who will be running the show? Will there be an Indian Dana White to show up and scream “Do you want to be a fuckin’ fighter?!?!” in Hindi (or one of that country’s 300 other dialects) during ‘TUF: India’ season one?
And if all the shows are supposed to “come together” for one finale, doesn’t that mean that all the international TUFs (and the American TUF) would all have to run concurrently around the globe? That, frankly, seems like a gargantuan production undertaking.
If we want, White says American audiences will be able to follow the international versions of the show using “technology” (read: the Internet) in order to keep tabs on which 19-year-old kid is kicking everybody’s ass on “TUF: Brazil,” where we assume the coaches will be Wallid Ismail and Rickson Gracie.
As usual, it’s kind of hard to tell if these overseas “TUF” productions are on the verge of becoming a reality, or if this is just Dana White thinking out loud again. For now, we’ll have to be content with season 12 of the original version — which kicks off on Wednesday — where our only hope for any entertainment at all depends on how big of a dick Josh Koscheck acted like during filming.