LAS VEGAS – A new network, new day and time, new coaches and new captivating storylines.
The Ultimate Fighter, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) signature reality series, moves to FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports’ newly minted multi-sport national cable channel, when it returns in September. The series, featuring UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Cat Zingano as coaches, also moves to Wednesday evening at 10:00 PM ET where it anchors FS1’s prime time UFC programming block. FS1 launches Saturday, Aug. 17 and season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4 (10:00 PM ET).
“Bringing The Ultimate Fighter to FOX Sports 1 is like adding a big bat to an exciting young lineup,” said Shanks. “TUF has jump-started the careers of dozens of fighters, many who have gone on to become UFC champions. It’s going to be a welcomed addition to FOX Sports 1, and the perfect anchor for our Wednesday prime time UFC block. We’re absolutely thrilled to have it.”
“Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter just ended and it was the best season we’ve ever done,” said UFC President Dana White. “Season 18 is going to be historic and groundbreaking with the first-ever women coaches, and men and women training and living together, and we’re excited to be airing it on the best new sports network in the country, FOX Sports 1.”
Earlier this year, UFC announced that Rousey, who defeated challenger Liz Carmouche in the UFC’s first women’s bout during UFC 157, would serve as the first-ever woman coach on the series alongside the winner of today’s Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano No.1 contender fight.
Moments ago Cat Zingano defeated Miesha Tate by TKO (referee stoppage) in round 3 at The Ultimate Fighter Finale event in Las Vegas.
Together Rousey and Zingano will mentor male and female bantamweight (135 lbs) fighters – living and training together – vying for the title of The Ultimate Fighter and a six-figure contract with the UFC.
“Having the opportunity to help fighters kick off their careers – especially the women – is an amazing experience,” said Rousey. “I’ve had the chance to be a guest on past episodes, and I felt the passion, determination and commitment these fighters bring to the sport. I can’t wait to start coaching this next history-making season on this exciting new network.”
The Ultimate Fighter, which debuted in 2005, has launched the careers of more than 100 UFC fighters and has produced past champions such as Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping and Matt Serra. Bantamweights were most recently featured on The Ultimate Fighter 14, when John Dodson emerged as the season’s winner.
At launch, FOX Sports 1 is available in over 90 million homes, making this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of the largest network launches ever. It boasts nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually. In addition to TUF 18, over the course of the year FS1’s Wednesday night UFC programming includes live fight events; UFC TONIGHT, the weekly authority for UFC news and information; and the best library programs.