The monumental deal that will put the UFC on FOX for at least the next seven years will also include a major shift that will see “The Ultimate Fighter” go live on FX.
The long running reality show, which enters its 14th season in September, will move to the FX Network and air on Friday nights starting with Season 15 in the Spring of 2012.
The new format will take the show in a completely different direction, which includes fighters being on “The Ultimate Fighter” for 13 weeks total, with each elimination fight airing live on FX on Friday nights.
“Over the last seven years and the last 14 cycles of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ they’ve been taped over six weeks, then they’re in the can and edited for three, four months and then they make it their way to air. Now the show’s going to be shot over 13 weeks and each installment will be edited the week of and then aired that week. What happened that week will be airing on FX Friday night followed by a live fight,” said John Landgraf, president of FX Networks.
UFC president Dana White gave a few more details as far as how the show will be taped during the week and then the actual fight taking place on live television.
“‘The Ultimate Fighter’ will now be live. Where we used to go in and the guys would stay there for six weeks and it would be in the can and we’d release the show months later. (Now it will be) four or five days of filming – it’s what I call ‘jive live’ – the reality will be jive live and every fight will be live. So people will be tuning in and watching ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ live,” said White.
Another wrinkle added to the new version of TUF will have the coaches for the season train alongside their team for all 12 weeks, and that will then lead to their fight, which will take place on pay-per-view.
“The reality will have happened over the last couple of days and the two coaches that come in to coach will also be there, their training camp will be there for that 12 weeks, and all these fights leading right into the finale. Also, when the coaches fight on pay-per-view, (it) will all line right up and it will be live,” White commented.
The new show format will be 12 weeks of “The Ultimate Fighter” with all 12 elimination bouts airing live on FX on Friday nights. “The Ultimate Fighter” finale will then happen on week 13 with the show again airing live on FX.
Twenty-six total weeks of live fights per year for “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX in addition to the six UFC Fight Night events that will also air on the network brings the total to 32 weeks of live programming for the UFC on FX.
One other major change in the show will be that fans will now have the power to help pick the fights that take place on “The Ultimate Fighter.” Each week fans will have the chance to vote on what fight they want to see for an elimination bout, and the following show the results will be announced.
“This is revolutionary television right here,” White stated.
The 15th season of “Tthe Ultimate Fighter” will kick off in Spring 2012 with episodes airing live Friday nights on FX.