Although The Ultimate Fighter is claimed to be "The Toughest Tournament in Sports" today, it hasn't always attracted the highest caliber of fighters.
Obviously, that hasn't been a problem in Season 17.
Not only is the talent a solid notch above what's been seen in many years, but there's also an air of mystery surrounding claims that one fighter had the entire TUF house "terrified" to fight him.
According to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, UFC president Dana White confirmed that all fighters on the show were offered a UFC contract, citing that he was immensely happy with their battles during show production.
Dana told every fighter in the TUF house this year that they will get another shot in the UFC. Loved them. Says Joe Silva wants to kill him. — Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 31, 2013
White further elaborated on his approval of the show's format, noting that while he still liked the "Live" concept from Season 15, various changes made by Fox had really improved the show overall.
Additionally, White addressed the difficulty of maintaining the sudden influx to the UFC roster, noting the added work it creates for matchmaker Joe Silva (via MMA Heat):
We have a lot of fighters. We have a lot of guys under contract, and it's basically a math game. We have "X" amount of fighters, three fights a year. That's why earlier on when TUF first launched, we were just building. We were building the sport, building the brand, building everything. Now we're at a point where we're doing fights all over the world.
This season is so f---ing good, and I was so happy with all the guys, I told them, "Every one of you guys are going to fight. You're going to get one more chance in the UFC. Every guy here gets another chance in the UFC." Joe Silva wants to f---ing kill me.
That means highly anticipated talents like Uriah Hall, Tor Troeng, Clint Hester, Zak Cummings and 10 other members of the cast will potentially be joining the middleweight division.
However, it's also possible that some fighters will move into different weight classes, either down to welterweight or up to light heavyweight. Either way, White has promised the 14-man cast that he could find spots for all of them, even if he has to add "one more fight on each card."
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