While many people are excited by the idea of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen coaching The Ultimate Fighter 17, the news came as a blow for two of the UFC’s best lightweight competitors who had been lead to believe they would be landing the gig.
Apparently Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis had originally been penciled in to coach TUF 17 which begins filming later this month, but at the last moment the UFC changed their mind and opted for a more high profile pairing.
“I was hoping to get ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ gig because I was told it was me and Cerrone coaching, and now it’s not happening,” Pettis confirmed to MMAfighting.com. “I’m just frustrated with everything, man.”
There’s been some suggestion that a shoulder injury Pettis has picked up was in some way responsible for him being pulled as a coach, but that seems unlikely, particularly as Jon Jones also currently has ligament damage to one of his arms which hasn’t prevented him being chosen for the role.
It’s far more likely that after witnessing the alarming nosedive in the ratings that TUF Season 16 has experienced so far over it’s first five episodes, that the UFC and FX brass realized that they would have to pull a rabbit out of the hat in order to transform the fortunes of the long-running show.
While Cerrone and Pettis wouldn’t have provided the ratings boost they require a fight between them should still be a barnburner, and reports suggest that the bout will still take place, with an event in January now being the likely landing spot for it.