The suspense is finally over for “The Ultimate Fighter Season 13” as former champion Brock Lesnar and top contender Junior Dos Santos have been tapped as coaches for the reality show.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement during a media conference call on Tuesday.
“The coaches for the next season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ will be Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos,” White said.
Lesnar’s appearance on TUF could bring the biggest ratings ever for the long running Spike TV show, as he has already been tagged as the largest pay-per-view draw in the UFC.
The former heavyweight champion has been out of sight since his UFC 121 loss to current titleholder Cain Velasquez in October. While rumors persisted that Lesnar could possibly be leaning towards a return to professional wrestling and walking away from MMA forever, White says that was all just smoke and mirrors.
“None of that was true,” White stated. “I was in communication with Brock and his team, and talking to them the whole time.”
Opposing Lesnar on the show and eventually in a fight will be Junior Dos Santos, who comes into the show as an undefeated contender in the UFC.
Dos Santos was originally going to face Velasquez for the belt in 2011, but an injury forced the champion to the sidelines for at least half of the year. It was the injury that the UFC president confirmed finally led them to Lesnar and Dos Santos as coaches.
“We were sitting there working on this thing for such a long time, and at the press conferences everybody kept asking me, I said, ‘I’m behind the eight-ball, I should have this done already,’ but so many things happened. The injury to the champ, Cain Velasquez, and now we’re looking at Junior Dos Santos who’s been waiting on this title shot and having to sit out. It made all the sense in the world once we knew how long Cain was going to be out,” White explained.
One interesting part to the filming of TUF 13 is that it takes place in Las Vegas, and Lesnar has said time and time again he’s not a fan of leaving his family and home in Minnesota for an extended period of time. White admits that there was some work in getting Lesnar to commit to the show, and he’s expecting the unexpected when filming starts later this month.
“Yeah it was,” White responded when asked if it was difficult to get Lesnar locked into doing the show. “I’m already prepared for this mentally, and it’s going to be a tough season, I know it is. I deal with Brock in very short spurts. The guy fights two or three times a year, it’s always tough, so it’s going to be a very interesting six weeks of filming.”
The show begins filming in the next two weeks and will air on Spike TV starting on March 30. Let the games begin…