When it was first announced that The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 would feature both bantamweights and featherweights it was immediately assumed that lighter weight fighters such as Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz would get the gig, but Dana White recently shut down that idea.
Instead it appears that middleweight contenders Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping are now in pole position to feature, with Heavy.com confirming the story first reported by The Wrestling Observer.
If so it’s not hard to see why the UFC have chosen to go down this route, with Sonnen and Bisping being two of the most outspoken and controversial figures in all of mixed martial arts.
Sonnen’s already been baiting the Brit into a fight with a slew of insults posted on his twitter account, while Bisping has made it clear that he would relish the opportunity to fight him next. With the promotional power of the long-running reality show behind them this could also be the fighters quickest ticket to a 185lb title shot.
‘The Count’ recently stated that he’s ready to turn over a new leaf after his last opponent Jorge Rivera managed to get under his skin pre-fght, resulting in the UK fighter over-reacting after their fight with insults of his own and spitting at Rivera’s cornerman.
While he may have the best of intentions Bisping showed on his previous stint as a TUF coach opposite Dan Henderson in season 9 that he’s a volatile character, and with Sonnen being the undisputed king of trash-talking, if he’s given a full season of TUF to work with he’s guaranteed to get a rise out of the UK fighter and produce some fireworks.
TUF has always thrived on dram like this and with these two on board it should make the season compulsive viewing and produce strong TV ratings on Spike.