3 Reasons Fans Will Need to Tune into Season 18 of the Ultimate Fighter
A conflict between two passionate athletes creates interesting television—especially if those two athletes are fueled by estrogen.
Granted, plenty of downright heated beefs have been sorted out on The Ultimate Fighter's 17 action-packed seasons. But until season 18, the show had never featured a pair of female coaches who held genuine disdain for one another.
Longtime UFC color commentator Joe Rogan reacted to president Dana White's decision to pit coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate against one another on The Ultimate Fighter by saying the following during the UFC 158 prelims:
"That sounds ridiculous. Men and women living in the house together. That sounds like cats and dogs. You're going to have problems Dana White."
Here are three reasons to tune into season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Classic Rivalry Scenario with a New Twist
Since the show spawned in 2005, The Ultimate Fighter has offered the public a front-row seat to such rivalries as Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.
For Rousey—the UFC's first women's bantamweight champ—getting a late coaching replacement on the show in the form of nemesis Miesha Tate could prove to be a blessing.
Rousey was initially slated to coach opposite Cat Zingano, an unbeaten fellow 135-pounder who TKO'd Tate on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Finale. But when Zingano went down with a knee injury, Tate, who became the fifth victim of a Rousey armbar in Strikeforce last March, wisely excepted the gig.
To illustrate how contentious the feud between Rousey and Tate has become, consider UFC president Dana White's words during a media scrum for UFC 161:
It's going exactly the way you'd expect it to be going, bad! I'm dead serious. Miesha and Ronda hate each other. It's literally crazy drama every day. It's irritating. It's Ken-Tito type stuff. I don't even know if some of the stuff will make TV. It's bad. Those two do not like each other and their camps do not like each other. And it's just pure fucking mayhem every day.
Cauliflower ears aside, Rousey and Tate arguably represent the two biggest sex symbols in women's MMA.
So placing Rousey and Tate in a house with a group of male and female fighters will undoubtedly produce some awkward moments of sexual tension.
While "Rowdy" and "Cupcake" don't embrace their sexiness quite like Gina Carano once did, the two grappling experts will surely provide an intriguing dynamic to a show that has only featured male coaches and competitors thus far.
Rousey reminisced about her first encounter with Tate during a special Fighter’s Cut episode of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV on Tuesday night. "Rowdy" summed up the appeal of watching her and Tate scrap by boldly saying: "Let the two pretty girls fight, everybody will love it."
Examine the Depth of Female and Male Talent at 135 Pounds
Before Rousey began collecting arms in Strikeforce, White never even considered creating a UFC women's bantamweight division.
But four straight spectacular first-round armbars in Strikeforce swayed White to change his mind about the place of women's MMA in the realm of the UFC.
In November 2012, during a pre-fight press conference for UFC on Fox 5, White made the 135-pound women's division the UFC's ninth weight class.
The UFC's brass will use the show to add depth to the company's thinnest division—which consists of just 13 fighters—with an injection of fresh female talent.
With 37 male 135-pounders at his disposal, White surely doesn't have a shortage of bantamweights in his stable. What the UFC does lack at 135, however, are credible contenders to challenge either interim champ Renan "Barao" Pegado or injured champ Dominick Cruz.