The UFC are preparing to get underway with their first ever international edition of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in Brazil next year, and today they announced that the team coaches will be old rivals Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva.
Dana White revealed the news at a press conference in Rio, Brazil.
“This show in the United States is huge – it’s one of the longest-running reality shows,” White told the assembled media. “It’s incredibly popular, it’s been huge for us there. We think it’s going to be 1,000 times bigger in Brazil. The amount of talent that’s in this country right now? There’s an undiscovered Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Vitor Belfort or Wanderlei Silva.”
Tryouts for the season are getting underway this week in Brazil and the successful applicants are expected to be unveiled in the early months of next year.
Choosing Belfort and Silva to coach makes sense on a number of levels.
Firstly, there is a strong rivalry between the two men due to the fact they have fought once before – coincidentally at the UFC’s first ever event in Brazil dating back to 1998 when ‘The Phenom’ ran through ‘The Axe Murderer’ in just 44 seconds. Since Belfort returned to the UFC Silva has been itching for a chance to avenge that loss and have engaged in some verbal sparring in the media long before this announcement was ever made, so that will add extra spice to the series.
You then have to add in the fact that Belfort is also already a well known star in Belfort due in large part to the fact that he’s married to a famous Brazilian model and appeared with her in a Brazilian edition of the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ show years ago.
Meanwhile Silva carries a big reputation in the global MMA scene and he is one of the most likeable fighters outside the Octagon so there’s a very good chance this series will catapult him to stardom in his own home nation too.
Finally, given the aggressive, hard-hitting style of both men we’re also guaranteed a very exciting and entertaining battle for as long as it lasts when the season finishes.
Given that TUF: Brazil will Air over the course of 12 weeks on major Brazilian channel ‘Globo’ and taking into consideration the massive interest in the sport in the region over the past 12 months it’s hard to imagine this is going to be anything other than a big hit.
The question now is how the rest of the world will be able to watch the show. At this stage it’s unclear, though The UFC has previously hinted that Fuel TV could be the destination for international TUF seasons, while Dana White has also suggested putting the episodes online is also a possibility.
We’ll have to wait and see, but what we do know is that the TUF: Brazil Finale will be available to watch live.