UFC president Dana White on Wednesday night announced Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos as the coaches for the upcoming Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes in Australia. The UFC on Thursday announced that heavyweights Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson would take on the same role in the next edition of TUF on FX in the United States.
After TUF: Live failed to gain any significant traction on FX, at least compared to past seasons on Spike TV, the series is going back to its pre-recorded format and ditching the “jive live” experiment. White has indicated there will likely be other changes as well, but has yet to reveal any details.
Carwin, a former interim UFC heavyweight champion, is returning after more than a year, having had neck surgery. Nelson has been fighting steadily and is coming off of a first-round knockout of Dave Herman.
“This is going to be a very interesting dynamic between these two heavyweights. They both have huge punching power and great chins but, outside of the Octagon, they couldn’t be more different,” commented White. “These two have been going at it on social media for a while and don’t seem to like each other very much, but they are going to be seeing a lot of each other during this series and I guarantee it’ll make for great TV.”
The fighters appear to agree.
“Coaching TUF is something I asked for and really wanted to do,” said Carwin. “I see myself being an MMA coach when my own career is over.
“I also asked to coach against Roy Nelson. The fans know how I like to conduct myself both in and out of the Octagon, and I respect every fighter, coach, official and fan in the UFC. But I cannot respect a man like Roy Nelson – because he shows no respect himself. He is a keyboard warrior who doesn’t have the guts to talk trash to my face, but now he’s going to have to be in the same room, the same gym and finally the same Octagon as me.”
Nelson has always clashed to a degree with White, so it came as a bit of a surprise to him that he was selected as a TUF coach. He sees it as a great opportunity, however, and relishes the chance to coach opposite Carwin.
“When I found out I was coaching against Shane Carwin, I was so happy to get a chance to compete against this guy. As for being in the same room as him, I try not hang out with people that make me feel icky on the inside but, to coach TUF, I will make an exception,” he stated.
“Shane Carwin can think he is the better fighter and coach, but I will do my best and try to represent the Average Joe and show my team that, with hard work, you can walk away a winner against any fighter.”
The next session of TUF on FX will begin taping in early August with the premier episode slated for some time in September.