Following Saturday’s UFC 124 event Dana White admitted that he was behind schedule in picking the coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, and he expects to make a final decision today (Monday).
Speaking to MMAFighting, White has since revealed three potential coach pairings for the event. See below as we discuss them in more detail.
Chael Sonnen Vs Wanderlei Silva
Sonnen and Silva have been hotly tipped to be the coaches following Sonnen’s PED suspension being reduced to six months and it’s not hard to see why. Sonnen’s colorful character would make him a natural for the show, and with Silva already having confronted him face to face earlier in the year about some of his outspoken views, the dynamic between the two would make for great TV.
There’s some concern regarding whether Sonnen’s current suspension could interfere with his ability to coach on the show though, and the word is he’s also going to have to reapply for his license in Nevada which could also cause problems.
Miguel Torres Vs Urijah Faber
Arguably the two best known fighters from the WEC roster, Torres and Faber would be a perfect pairing to introduce the lighter weight-classes to a wider audience now that they are merging with the UFC.
Faber is the WEC’s equivalent of GSP, being a very marketable fighter with a ‘good guy’ image, while Torres is one of the most charismatic and quick witted personalities in the sport, and a fight between the two has been on many people’s wish-list for years.
The main drawback is that Dana feels they should be exposed to the UFC audience via fights first, and then coach a season when they are better established with the casual fans. There’s also the issue that filming the show would keep them both out of action for the first few months of the year, and with Jose Aldo also out injured that means a lack of big name WEC stars to really start the new era off with a bang.
Brock Lesnar Vs Frank Mir
This surprising pairing was also mentioned by White, though it’s difficult to say how seriously this is being considered. As far as heavyweights go it’s the obvious choice with Lesnar and Mir being bitter rivals, and currently 1-1 in their two meetings to date. Lesnar’s star power should help generate huge ratings and the genuine hatred they share for each other should provide fireworks on camera.
The major stumbling block here is that Lesnar is a very private person, hates being on camera and likes to spend as much time at home in relative isolation as possible. Therefore it’s hard to imagine him jumping at the chance to coach TUF. Fans have also recently voiced their lack of enthusiasm for a rubber match between the two, but despite appearing to take heed of that at first Dana has since admitted that injuries, etc have left them with few other choices.
White is supposed to be meeting with Brock Lesnar this week to discuss his next fight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s offered the TUF coaching role, but I think it would be a speculative move on their part and I don’t see it happening.
Faber Vs Torres would be the easiest of the three pairings to arrange, but I think at this stage Sonnen Vs Silva is going to be the more attractive option and assuming they can sort out Sonnen’s suspension issues I still see these two as being the front-runners to be on the show.
In the end all three options are attractive though. Hopefully we’ll find out for certain which way they are going to go within the next week or so.