A week after the UFC retracted a statement announcing a new women’s flyweight (125lb) division, claiming that they were still mulling over their options, they have now officially confirmed that it is going ahead after all.
From a PR perspective the UFC really botched this whole situation, but nonetheless this is great news for both existing WMMA flyweight fighters, and others who have previously been fighting at either strawweight (115bs) or bantamweight (135lbs) even though that wasn’t their ideal weight class.
In some ways the UFC have been beaten to the punch by Bellator however, since they’ve already been building up their own 125lb division, with recently released UFC fighter Valerie Letourneau being one of their latest acquisitions, joining the likes of Ilima Macfarlane, Anastasia Yankova, Sarah D’Alelio and Coleen Schneider.
As the UFC previously announced, the new division’s inaugural champion will be crowned via The Ultimate Fighter 26, with any flyweights interested in participating, including existing UFC fighters, having been invited to tryouts in Las Vegas later this month.
Read the UFC’s full statement below.
“A new division will be created and a new champion will emerge from the next season of The Ultimate Fighter®. Women’s flyweights, between the ages of 21-34 with a winning record and at least three professional fights are invited to attend the open casting call in Las Vegas. The season will also be open to females on the current UFC roster that can successfully make 125-pounds throughout the duration of the season. The previous casting call for women’s strawweights and bantamweights as well as male middleweights has been cancelled. The season will begin filming in July and premiere on FS1 later this year.
Applications, which should be completed and brought to tryouts, can be found online at http://www.ufc.com/TUF26. The athletes will be required to grapple and hit pads, so please bring appropriate gear. Applicants will be notified at the end of the day if they have been selected to move on in the casting process. If selected, applicants must be prepared to stay in Las Vegas until Saturday, May 27. All questions can be directed to [email protected]
The Ultimate Fighter, which debuted in 2005, has launched the careers of some of the UFC’s most recognizable names and successful athletes. The series has produced six UFC champions including Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, TJ Dillashaw, Carla Esparza, and Matt Serra.
WHO: 125-pound women
WHEN: Tuesday, May 23 at 8 a.m. PT
WHERE: Palace Station Hotel
2411 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102