The first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Live on FX reached it’s penultimate episode last Friday night with only the live Finale still to come, and afterwards Dana White spoke to reporters about the future of the show.
Here’s the keynotes from the conversation and scroll down to watch the full video for yourselves.
– The fighters were all set free from the TUF house after Friday night’s show, but Dana warned them that they are fighting again on the TUF: Finale show this coming weekend so they have to stay mentally focused and not get distracted by the bright lights of Las Vegas.
– Dana loves the live format and says it’s the most engaged he’s been in the show for a long time because of it. He can’t guarantee that it’ll remain in that format next season though, noting that nothing’s ever set in stone.
– He admits there’s things that need fixed, and at the top of that list is what night they are on as moving it to a Friday night slot for this new season hasn’t proved to be a hit ratings wise.
– White is meeting with execs from FOX, FOX Sports, FX and Fuel TV today (Tuesday) for talks about TUF (and presumably the UFC’s tv output in general).
– He believes that there’s been a completely different feeling on the TUF set this year because it’s been airing live on Friday night’s – it’s made it seem more real to the fighters and that’s perhaps resulted in less misbehaving in the house.
– Going back to the Friday night issue, White reveals that the FOX deal happened so quickly that FX were left to try to figure out a night they could accomodate TUF on. Friday night is far from ideal, and in an ideal world the UFC would never put it on that night, but under the circumstances it’s the best they could do at the time. FX has a lot of high quality programming already mapped out across the week so it’s not easy to just change the day TUF is on.
– Regarding doing a follow-up to ‘The Comeback Season’ (AKA TUF: 4) in which fighters’ who’d fought in the UFC in the past come back to fight their way into the promotion again, White likes the idea and thinks that enough time has past that they could get enough guys together to make it work.
– While Dana is all about emphasizing the fact that the show is all about fights he does grudgingly accept that the “goofy” reality segments in the show are what some people tune in to see and perhaps they need to find a better balance between the two again.
– The UFC president admits he did lie to TUF coach Urijah Faber about who his new opponent was going to be after Dominick Cruz pulled out injured. He told him he was fighting Ivan Menjivar even though he already knew it was actually going to be Renan Barao because he wanted to keep it secret until the live announcement on the show.
– White feels sympathy for Cruz who was set for his biggest payday and highest profile fight in his rematch with Faber, but he thinks that the bantamweight champion has handled the situation like a man.