The Ultimate Fighter consists of 16 fighters in a specified weight class, with all of the fighters battling for a six-figure UFC contract.
According to UFC President Dana White, the cool thing about Season 15, which airs this Friday on FX and will be coached by UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz as well as former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber, is that it's live.
What does that mean?
That means that everything you see going on in the house will be shown as it went down earlier in that very week, and rather than making us wait until the season's over, every fight from the elimination rounds to the semifinals will go down in real time on that Friday.
Hey, it beats out the old format, doesn't it?
TUF was once taped over the course of a six-to-12-week period, meaning that Dana White and Co. already knew who was making the finale before the season premiere had even hit the airwaves, and that meant that fans wouldn't know anything about the card until it was a little over a week before fight week.
That meant any injuries that befell either of the coaches or any of the fighters were not confirmed until either later in the season or after the season finale before the finale had happened.
With the new format, everything the fighters do inside the cage will be 100 percent live, as it happens on FX, while the stuff in the house may likely be briefly recapped before the fight happens.Truthfully, the drama in the house made for all of the "taped early" seasons of TUF that always started by leaving us to wonder "What did these maniacs get themselves into when they started taping?"
Now, many in the MMA world have grown weary of the same shtick with "fighter causes drama," "fighter hates other fighter and wants to hurt him in the cage," "fighter is a little b***h-boy and wants to cut corners to the finals," etc.
Ultimately, TUF boils down more to the fights rather than the question of whoever is going to make for some subpar reality TV moment that nobody's going to give a damn about later, and as if we couldn't somehow tell you this already, the live format will do one thing brilliantly above all else.
It will do something that hasn't been done for quite a few seasons: it will manage to maintain the heat of the drama between the fighters and contain the heated tension between Cruz and Faber, all just so the fans at home can get the sizzle.
But then, when it's time for the two fighters to throw fisticuffs, the new format will provide audiences with the thick, juicy steak that is the actual in-cage action between every two of the grand total of 16 fighters looking to earn their right to win the title of "the next Ultimate Fighter."