How will the UFC rebound from its lowest rated The Ultimate Fighter season in history? With two heavyweight head coaches that will surely polarize MMA fans. Heavyweight sluggers Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson will coach TUF 16.
Two of the hardest hitting fighters in MMA will serve as TUF coaches on the second season of the show to air on FX. Nelson is coming off a win while Carwin is coming off of a loss and a long vacation. Carwin and Nelson don’t have the bitter rivalry of last season’s coaches but as fierce competitors you never know what can happen.
The one upside here is that there aren’t any star fighters or headliners held up due to TUF. When you have champions like Dominick Cruz and Georges St-Pierre as coaches with fight commitments, you tie up entire divisions for months if not a year. Taking Carwin or Nelson out of the mix for the next several months won’t anyone or anything in the UFC heavyweight division.
Carwin and Nelson are fascinating choices to me because the UFC is theoretically under enormous pressure. Coming off of a season of the lowest ratings in TUF history, you would expect them to come back with more dynamic coaches. I could be reading more into this than I should be, but maybe this is a message to Fox/FX? Certainly the UFC cannot be happy that none of the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen UFC 148 Prime Time or Countdown specials were given airtime on Fox.
On the other hand, there are some notable differences in this season’s TUF show. For one, the show will not air live anymore. Two, there are no tryouts to get on the show. Dana White and producers hand-picked competitors as opposed to previous years where they held open tryouts. There are still rumors that this would be a comeback season, but that is not confirmed. My hunch is that since there were no tryouts, that the rumor would only be stronger.
This season will feature an entire welterweight class. The idea of Carwin and Nelson teaching welterweights is just bizarre to me. Carwin is a decorated amateur wrestler and Nelson has a much better ground game than he gets credit for. However, I just don’t know how well their game plans will translate to welterweight hopefuls.
I am not sure if they will ever find another Forrest Griffin or Rashad Evans on The Ultimate Fighter. To me, the concept is long past being interesting or productive. It was easy to find talented unsigned fighters several years ago as opposed to now. I did enjoy last season but quite frankly that was mostly due to watching Dominick Cruz teach and train. I can’t imagine that I would find watching Nelson or Carwin coach to be anywhere close to as fascinating as Cruz.
That’s fine, but it’s time to create a show that’s different.
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