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wavetar 12-07-2011 11:44 AM

Cruz, Faber will be TUF 15 coaches!
Should be a good season:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced today that The Ultimate Fighter®, the longest-running sports reality show on television, is moving to FX this March with an exciting, new live format.

The Ultimate Fighter® LIVE debuts on Friday, March 9 as part of a two-hour season premiere beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The show will then air for one hour at 10 p.m. ET/PT every Friday for the next 11 weeks on FX. The three-hour finale will conclude FX’s premiere season of The Ultimate Fighter®LIVE on June 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. UFC® bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and“The California Kid” Urijah Faber will serve as coaches on the upcoming season, with lightweight and welterweight contestants competing for two, six-figure UFC contracts.

This past Saturday, The Ultimate Fighter® concluded its run on SPIKE TV as 2.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the season 14 finale headlined by Michael Bisping battling Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a middleweight contest. The event was the highest rated and most watched TUF Finale since TUF 10 in 2009, and was the No. 1 program on cable among M18-49 and M18-34 (No. 2 in A18-49). In addition, season 14 was up +121 percent with A18-34 compared to the previous season. The strong ratings prove that the show has tremendous momentum heading into its highly anticipated arrival on FX.

“We’re producing ground-breaking television with The Ultimate Fighter LIVE and we can’t wait to kick this season off with FX in March,” UFC President Dana White said. “It’s going to be can’t-miss TV. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are two incredible personalities 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.”

“We believe that Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta), along with Executive Producer Craig Piligian, have come up with exciting new changes to the format of The Ultimate Fighter that will expand and grow the series,” said Chuck Saftler, Executive Vice President, FX Networks. “The fact that the fights at the end of each episode will now be televised live is certain to create a sense of urgency for UFC fans. Furthermore, the move of TUF to Friday nights will provide a great ratings boost to the network.”

The rivalry between coaches Cruz and Faber dates back to March 2007, when Faber handed Cruz his first and only professional loss in a 145-pound bout. The 26-year-old Cruz avenged that loss this past July, defeating Faber by unanimous decision to retain the bantamweight crown in a Fight of the Year candidate. With the series now even, Cruz and Faber look to settle the score as TUF coaches, followed by a title fight in mid-2012 inside the Octagon®.

Undefeated at 9-0 since dropping to bantamweight in 2008, San Diego’s Cruz (19-1) has surged to the top of the division thanks to unorthodox striking, tremendous cardio, and aggressive wrestling. Owner of wins over the likes of Faber, Demetrious Johnson, Scott Jorgensen, Joseph Benavidez (twice), and Brian Bowles, “The Dominator” has long sought an opportunity to serve as coach on The Ultimate Fighter®. The chance to coach opposite his longtime rival makes the opportunity that much sweeter.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a gym rat and love learning and teaching mixed martial arts,” Cruz, who trains at Alliance MMA in San Diego, said. “This is a dream come true. To get a chance to coach TUF and beat Faber again is all the motivation I need. This is going to be an insane season of The Ultimate Fighter.”

Sacramento’s Faber cemented his place as a pioneer in the lighter weight divisions after holding the WEC featherweight title for a span of over two years from 2006-2008. Boasting victories over the likes of Cruz, Jeff Curran and Jens Pulver at 145-pounds, “The California Kid” dropped to his more natural weight class of 135-pounds in November 2010 in search of his second world title. He’s since been on a tear, most recently submitting former champion Bowles at UFC® 139.

Now, the 32-year-old turns his attention to another one of his passions – coaching.

“I can’t wait to be the next coach on The Ultimate Fighter,” Faber, whose gym in Sacramento has helped produce UFC stars Benavidez, Chad Mendes and Danny Castillo, said. “I am looking forward to mentoring a bunch of hungry and talented fighters. The new cast needs to be ready to work hard and learn! Having Dominick coach on the opposite side couldn’t be more perfect. I’m not too thrilled about being in each other’s space for an extended period of time, as I am sure we are going to get on each other’s nerves. But I can’t wait to mentally beat him up as a coach, and then literally beat him up in the cage and swipe that UFC strap.”

Primadawn 12-07-2011 02:57 PM

I can't wait! This should be a really good season!

Miss Foxy 12-07-2011 04:11 PM

Not too excited about this one.. I am going Team Cruz though.

VCURamFan 12-07-2011 05:04 PM

This is gonna be awesome! I'm really stoked for this. Should be perfect timing to allow Cruz's hand to heal up.

JavierDLC 12-07-2011 06:48 PM

Thats awesome!! I Like The concept!!! Im not sure Ill watch it Live since its on a Friday but Thank God for my DVR.

I think Faber will definitely make it fun with his personality and all and Dominick I see him as entertaining as Dan Henderson was....

War Faber!!

County Mike 12-07-2011 07:34 PM

I love the concept of the weekly fights being live. Looking forward to the new format. I'm just hoping the editors focus on the training more than the stupid house drama.

rockdawg21 12-08-2011 07:19 PM

Lame, Faber didn't have any answer for Cruz in their last fight, wins 1 fight, then gets another shot at him. I know Dana tries to ride that popularity train with Faber, but this is crap.

If anybody deserves this shot, it's 29-1-1 Renan Barao. His only loss was his first fight and the NC was from an illegal soccer kick. This guy hasn't lost a fight since April 2005. For him not to get the shot is insane.

wavetar 12-08-2011 10:55 PM

His record is impressive, but he's only fought outside of Brazil 4 times, and they weren't exactly a 'who's who' of the Bantamweight Division, although Pickett is a tough guy. I'd think he'd have to beat at least one guy like Faber, Jorgenson, Bowles, Miguel Torres or Demetrious Johnson to claim a number 1 contender's berth...IMHO of course.

rockdawg21 12-09-2011 04:58 AM

I don't care who it is. 29 straight victories in MMA, where one shot can end any fight, is incredible!

I understand the business side of it though; he's the best unknown guy in all of the UFC, so it'd be a hard sell until he gets a fight on the main card against a bigger name fighter.

flo 12-11-2011 11:30 PM

I'm not a big fan of Faber (and it would be easy to say I'll skip this season but I know I won't do that) so I'll be cheering for Team Cruz.

I agree that the program would be much better if they concentrated on training and the fights - just skip the drama, which seems very contrived in any case.

They could change it up even MORE if they had Cruz and Faber coaching HWs. :laugh:

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