The 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter will be the lowest common denominator in terms of entertainment and, because of that, it will damage MMA's image.
"Watch men and women GET IT ON in the cage and in bed on this season of the Ultimate Fighter," might as well be the tagline for the upcoming season that features male and female fighters living in the same house during the show's duration.
The UFC is mixing testosterone, estrogen and alcohol together and hoping this concoction creates ratings. The brand will be damaged no matter how successful this gamble is.
The UFC likes to purport that they're "as real as it gets" but TUF 18 is as gimmicky as it gets—and not because there are female fighters but because they're insisting on putting the females in the same house as the males.
UFC lightweight Yves Edwards made a joke on twitter, calling this season "TUFOrgy."
Putting female fighters on the show would've been a great leap forward for women's MMA and for female athletes in general. Putting female and male fighters on the show but in separate houses still would've helped women's MMA via increased exposure. Putting female and male fighters in the same house helps the UFC's ratings and only the UFC's ratings.
It's a desperate attention grabber, just like the last few seasons of the show attempted (unsuccessfully) to try to drum up buzz for the dead horse of a franchise that is TUF. "Come watch TUF 17, we have a trash talker who doesn't belong in this weight class! Come watch TUF 15, the fights are LIVE," and so on.
The UFC is basically telling you to not watch the show for its athletes, watch it for the sophomoric humor, drama and sex. Who cares about the eventual fight between the coaches, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate/Cat Zingano? Who cares about the fact that women's MMA will be showcased on a larger television platform than ever before?
By doing this, the UFC is hurting its own image and the sport. Its showing that its brand isn't about athletics, but about entertainment. The show isn't about giving talented females their much deserved chance in the limelight, it's about sexualizing them for attention. Nothing good will come from TUF 18 because of this.