(PRESS RELEASE) -- LOS ANGELES (Jan. 9, 2013) – Tuesdays just got TUF™. On January 22, some of the world’s most talented and determined mixed martial artists will face-off in the most grueling sports tournament on television. Watch as 28 mixed martial arts prospects battle for a coveted spot on the new season of The Ultimate Fighter®, which begins with a special two-hour premiere airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
The Ultimate Fighter, the Ultimate Fighting Championship®’s long-running reality television series, will run for 13 weeks and will culminate in a three-hour finale, live from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Unlike previous seasons on FX, the one-hour broadcast will now be shown on Tuesday nights at its new regularly scheduled timeslot of 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The 14 successful combatants will be divided into two teams, which will be coached by two of the fiercest rivals in all of sport. UFC® light heavyweight champion and MMA superstar, Jon “Bones” Jones will captain one team, while the controversial and charismatic challenger Chael Sonnen will lead the second team into battle in this, the 17th installment of the series.
The coaches will then collide for the light heavyweight title on Saturday, April 27, at UFC® 159: JONES vs. SONNEN at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Not surprisingly, both Jones and Sonnen will be bringing their trademark self-confidence into their stints as coaches this season on The Ultimate Fighter.
“I thought it would be a good way to share myself with the sport of MMA,” Jones said. “I embrace the role.”
Said Sonnen: “The hottest show on FX is being graced with the greatest talent God ever made: Chael P. Sonnen.’’
The list of finalists in the middleweight (185 pounds) division was trimmed from more than 250 applicant athletes. The fighters - all seeking the opportunity of a lifetime and a six-figure contract from the Ultimate Fighting Championship - hail from the United States, Australia, England and Sweden.
“The quality of guys we have this season in unbelievable,” said UFC President Dana White. “From the fights to get into the house, to every single fight this season, I think the talent is some of the best I’ve ever seen on this show. We’re going to end up with some really good guys in the 185-pound division.”
“The production value has increased, the talent level is at an all-time high, and we have two of the most dynamic personalities in all of the UFC as our coaches,” said Chuck Saftler, EVP of FX Networks. “I’m extremely excited about this season of The Ultimate Fighter and truly believe this could be the show’s best season yet.”
On Jan. 22, the season will launch with 14 gripping elimination scraps. Those victorious in the opening round, or “Fight In”, become official cast members and earn their place in The Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas. The winners will be drafted into opposing teams of seven by Jones and Sonnen. Thereafter, cameras will document their activity before and after their training and fights during the season.
Each episode’s winners will advance in the single-elimination tournament until one is crowned The Ultimate Fighter.
The competitors are:
Dylan Andrews (16-4-1), 32, Gold Coast, AUS
Jake Heun (3-2), 25, Salt Lake City, Utah
Hito Andrews (9-2), 34, Sacramento, Calif.
Nicholas Hohring (3-0), 22, Valley Springs, Calif.
Luke Barnatt (5-0), 24, Cambridge, ENG
Mike Jaspar (6-0), 29, Camarillo, Calif.
Leo Bercier (7-2), 31, Great Falls, Montana
Bubba McDaniel (20-6), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
Ryan Lee Q. Bigler (9-3), 28, Guam
Frasier Opie (10-5), 25, Milton Keynes, ENG
Kevin Casey (5-2), 31, Hawthorne, Calif.
Frederick Persons (3-0), 28, Stockton, Calif.
Adam Cella (4-0), 27, Fenton, Mo.
Jimmy Quinlan (3-0), 26, Metheun, Mass.
Zach Cummings (15-3), 28, Kansas City, Mo.
Scott Rosa (4-1), 27, Sparks, Nev.
Andy Enz, (6-1), 21, Anchorage, Alaska
Josh Samman (9-2), 24, Tallahassee, Fla.
Nik Fehete (5-1), 32, Las Vegas, Nev.
Gilbert Smith (5-1), 30, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Kelvin Gastelum (5-0), 20, Yuma, Ariz.
Eldon Sproat (3-1), 27, Molohai, Hawaii
Uriah Hall (7-2), 28, New York City, N.Y.
Tor Troeng (15-4-1), 29, Umea, SWE
Collin Hart (4-1-1), 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Eric Wahlin (5-1), 29, Taylorsville, Utah
Clint Hester (7-3), 24, Atlanta, Ga.
Timothy Williams (7-1), 26, Millville, N.J.
Many of today’s most recognizable names in the UFC have emerged from the TUF™ series, including, among many others, Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, and Michael Bisping.
Tune-in and watch who will become the next THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER on FX!
For more show information, bios, videos and photos, visit ultimatefighter.com and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter under our new name @TUFonFX or on Facebook.com/TUF.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Universally recognized for its action-packed, can’t-miss events that have sold out some of the biggest arenas and stadiums across the globe, the UFC® is the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas and with offices in London, Toronto and Beijing, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. In 2012, the UFC burst into the mainstream with a landmark seven-year broadcast agreement with FOX Sports Media Group. The agreement includes four live events broadcast on the FOX network annually, with additional fight cards and thousands of hours of programming broadcast on FOX properties FX and FUEL TV. This also includes the longest-running sports reality show on television, The Ultimate Fighter®, which now airs on FX.
In addition to its reach on FOX, UFC programming is broadcast in over 145 countries and territories, to nearly 800 million TV households worldwide, in 30 different languages. UFC content is also distributed commercially in the United States to bars and restaurants through Joe Hand Promotions, in English throughout Canada via Premium Sports Broadcasting Inc. and Australia via Main Event and in French throughout Quebec via Interbox. The UFC also connects with tens of millions of fans through its website, UFC.com, as well as social media sites Facebook and Twitter. UFC President Dana White is considered one of the most accessible and followed executives in sports, with over two million followers on Twitter. Ancillary UFC businesses include best-selling DVDs, an internationally distributed magazine, UFC.TV offering live event broadcasts and video on demand around the world, the best-selling UFC Undisputed® video game franchise distributed by THQ, and a new franchise in development with EA, UFC GYM®, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo® festivals, branded apparel and trading cards.
FX FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 98 million homes. The diverse schedule features a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning hit dramas series Sons of Anarchy and Justified; the miniseries American Horror Story: Asylum; the upcoming drama series The Americans; the acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, BrandX with Russell Brand, and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell; and the upcoming comedy Legit. The network’s library of acquired box-office hit movies is unmatched by any ad-supported television network. FX's other offerings include the acquired hit series Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, and live sports with UFC and NCAA football.