The 18th season of the long-running reality-television series “The Ultimate Fighter” is off to a rocky start, according to MMA Weekly. “It’s going exactly the way you’d expect it to be going: bad,” Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White told reporters after UFC 161: Evans Vs. Henderson in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
The latest season of the series, pitting two teams against each other as they compete for the crown of The Ultimate Fighter, will feature team captains Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, two of the breakout stars in the world of women’s mixed martial arts. “Miesha and Ronda hate each other,” White said. “It’s like literally crazy drama every day.”
The drama undoubtedly stems from their highly publicized bout for Strikeforce last year, in which Rousey defeated Tate by armbar to capture the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship. Leading up to the fight, the two traded barbs back and forth in the media.
As ESPN pointed out, Rousey was originally slated to face UFC female bantamweight Cat Zingano in the forthcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” However, Zingano had to withdraw from the show because of a knee injury.
In terms of potential drama and ratings, the last-minute switch could be a blessing in disguise. “This is what we really wanted all along,” Rousey told Yahoo Sports. “Everyone said an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other, and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that. I think people will look back at this as one of the monumental rivalries and look back at this as one of those things that really cemented women’s MMA.”
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The UFC’s White is eager to capitalize on the expanding popularity of the women’s division. The wildly successful pay-per-view event “UFC 157” featured the first women’s match in the history of the company, fought between Rousey and Liz Carmouche. The contest was the main event of the night.
As the UFC continues to grow, it only makes sense to pair women’s MMA with its flagship program, “The Ultimate Fighter.” With Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate on the verge of reigniting their rivalry on the show, White is hopeful that this will translate to ratings. “I don’t even know if some of that stuff will make TV. It’s bad. Those two do not like each other, and their camps do not like each other. And it is pure [expletive deleted] mayhem every day,” White said.
The 18th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” premieres on Fox Sports 1 in September.