2012 has proven to be a year of growing pains for the UFC. With the deal with Fox adding more shows throughout the year and changes to The Ultimate Fighter, there have been obvious issues. From low ratings for The Ultimate Fighter Live and some of the fight cards on FX and Fuel TV, along with the increasing rate of injuries to top stars, including Jose Aldo and Dominic Cruz, something obviously needs to be done to help the UFC ease into a brighter spotlight.
With the recent talk from Dana White following the UFC on FX card, he mentioned that there is a possibility of women fighting in the UFC as long as there are enough fighters to fill the division. Well, with the recent addition of Flyweights to the UFC and how much Dana has been talking about current Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, the next logical move for the UFC would be to have a female version of The Ultimate Fighter.
If you think about it, it makes sense. What better way to introduce a wider audience to WMMA than to have an entire cast of hungry fighters willing to show off their skills to a national audience? If the original season of TUF could bring a new audience to the UFC, why couldn't it happen again?
Not only would it bring wider attention to WMMA but it could solidify Rousey as a legitimate MMA star. She would be an obvious candidate to be a coach, and there are options as well. Miesha Tate would be an obvious choice, with the feud that the two had in the buildup to their recent match. If the UFC is willing to wait, the league could see if Cyborg Santos was clean and could drop down in weight to have her settle the war of words that had started after Santos tested positive and was stripped of her Featherweight Title.
The less likely options include former champion Sarah Kaufman, which could help build her marketability, though this matchup doesn't have the same panache as the previously mentioned ones. Yet, the only one that would be very interesting—but most likely will never happen—is if Gina Carano were to coach opposite Rousey. The problem lies in the fact that Carano has had medical issues halting her return to fighting, along with the fact that she's had problems making weight to compete at the Featherweight level, so shaving off another 10 pounds could be problematic.
Yet, if the UFC was to go through with a plan for a female Ultimate Fighter, it could really benefit even if it doesn't become a ratings hit. If it works, then Dana and the UFC have the fighters to create a division and a champion to spearhead it. If it fails, then the UFC can say that they gave it a shot and that the fans just weren't responding to the content; though they may try again further down the road.