The UFC have announced a major new deal with Vale Tudo Japan (Formerly Shooto) which will result in a tournament style TV show in the region with similarities to ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ that will lead to the winners earning a UFC contract.
Dana White announced the news yesterday in Tokyo and explained to reporters how the show would differentiate itself from TUF.
For one thing, it’ll be focused around a round-robin tournament that will run over 30 weeks featuring eight bantamweights and eight featherweights, with the fighters who have the best win-loss record after competing against everyone else in their weight class securing their place in the UFC.
“Much like The Ultimate Fighter, this series will continue to cultivate and popularize top talent for us in new markets,” White said. “The round-robin tournament concept is going to make for amazing fights, with a lot at stake. Every fight will matter, every performance will count.”
In addition to that, the show, which will feature Japanese fighters and air on Japanese TV, will opt for a documentary style approach rather than go for the reality TV style ‘TUF House’ format.
“They won’t live in a house, and they won’t train under guys that we bring in,” White explained. “They will train with their own coaches and do their own thing. People will see they where they train, where they live, and their families. They’ll get more in-depth. It’ll be a real look at who these guys are. The thing about TUF is you put guys in a pressure cooker, and it’s f***ing insane. Well, it wasn’t last season, but the other seasons.”
This new series shows the UFC’s commitment to rekindling enthusiasm for MMA in the Japanese market, and it’s good to see them thinking outside the box a little here rather than just churning out another international edition of TUF.