The UFC’s long-running reality competition, “The Ultimate Fighter,” will move to its third network for the upcoming fall season and to a new night of the week, as well.
Season 18 of “TUF” will move from FX to the new FOX Sports 1 cable channel, which launches in August. “TUF 18? will debut on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
UFC President Dana White made the announcement during Saturday’s FX broadcast of the main card of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, which took place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Although White didn’t give a specific start date for “TUF 18? during the FX broadcast, UFC officials released the debut date and new day of the week after his announcement. The show begins filming this summer.
“I want to thank everyone at FX,” White said. “But the next season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ is moving to FOX Sports 1, and we’re very excited about it.”
The first 14 seasons of the show aired on Spike TV, the UFC’s first cable partner, from 2005-2011. But with the start of the promotion’s seven-year broadcast deal with FOX, the show moved to FX, a FOX-owned cable channel, starting in 2012.
But this past month, FOX made it official that it would debut a new national multi-sport network, FOX Sports 1, which will launch on Aug. 17 in more than 90 million homes. The first day of programming for the cable network will include a live UFC event in Boston, and the network will continue to air the UFC’s “Fight Night” events after that, replacing live events currently on FX and FUEL TV.
Earlier this year, FOX announced plans to rebrand its SPEED and FUEL TV cable channels as FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. FUEL TV currently hosts more UFC content than any other channel. That programming will move to FOX Sports 1.
White’s announcement came following the second women’s fight in UFC history, in which Cat Zingano stopped former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate with a third-round TKO. Zingano, with the win, will coach opposite women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on “TUF 18,” and the two will fight for Rousey’s title at the conclusion of the show. It will be the first time women will serve as head coaches on the show, which will feature both female and male contestants living in the same house.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to coach both (men and women),” Rousey said during Saturday’s FX broadcast. “It’s going to be something amazing, and I can’t wait.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Cat Zingano)