(PRESS RELEASE) -- LOS ANGELES (Jan. 9, 2013) â€“
Tuesdays just got TUFâ„¢. On January 22, some of the worldâ€™s most talented and determined mixed martial artists will face-off in the most grueling sports tournament on television. Watch as 28 mixed martial arts prospects battle for a coveted spot on the new season of The Ultimate FighterÂ®, which begins with a special two-hour premiere airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
The Ultimate Fighter, the Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipÂ®â€™s long-running reality television series, will run for 13 weeks and will culminate in a three-hour finale, live from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Unlike previous seasons on FX, the one-hour broadcast will now be shown on Tuesday nights at its new regularly scheduled timeslot of 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The 14 successful combatants will be divided into two teams, which will be coached by two of the fiercest rivals in all of sport. UFCÂ® light heavyweight champion and MMA superstar, Jon â€œBonesâ€ Jones will captain one team, while the controversial and charismatic challenger Chael Sonnen will lead the second team into battle in this, the 17th installment of the series.
The coaches will then collide for the light heavyweight title on Saturday, April 27, at UFCÂ® 159: JONES vs. SONNEN
at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Not surprisingly, both Jones and Sonnen will be bringing their trademark self-confidence into their stints as coaches this season on The Ultimate Fighter.
â€œI thought it would be a good way to share myself with the sport of MMA,â€ Jones said. â€œI embrace the role.â€
Said Sonnen: â€œThe hottest show on FX is being graced with the greatest talent God ever made: Chael P. Sonnen.â€™â€™
The list of finalists in the middleweight (185 pounds) division was trimmed from more than 250 applicant athletes. The fighters - all seeking the opportunity of a lifetime and a six-figure contract from the Ultimate Fighting Championship - hail from the United States, Australia, England and Sweden.
â€œThe quality of guys we have this season in unbelievable,â€ said UFC President Dana White. â€œFrom the fights to get into the house, to every single fight this season, I think the talent is some of the best Iâ€™ve ever seen on this show. Weâ€™re going to end up with some really good guys in the 185-pound division.â€
â€œThe production value has increased, the talent level is at an all-time high, and we have two of the most dynamic personalities in all of the UFC as our coaches,â€ said Chuck Saftler, EVP of FX Networks. â€œIâ€™m extremely excited about this season of The Ultimate Fighter and truly believe this could be the showâ€™s best season yet.â€
On Jan. 22, the season will launch with 14 gripping elimination scraps. Those victorious in the opening round, or â€œFight Inâ€, become official cast members and earn their place in The Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas. The winners will be drafted into opposing teams of seven by Jones and Sonnen. Thereafter, cameras will document their activity before and after their training and fights during the season.
Each episodeâ€™s winners will advance in the single-elimination tournament until one is crowned The Ultimate Fighter.
The competitors are:
(16-4-1), 32, Gold Coast, AUS
(3-2), 25, Salt Lake City, Utah
Hito Andrews (9-2), 34, Sacramento, Calif.
(3-0), 22, Valley Springs, Calif.
(5-0), 24, Cambridge, ENG
Mike Jaspar (6-0), 29, Camarillo, Calif.
(7-2), 31, Great Falls, Montana
Bubba McDaniel (20-6), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
Q. Bigler (9-3), 28, Guam
Frasier Opie (10-5), 25, Milton Keynes, ENG
(5-2), 31, Hawthorne, Calif.
Frederick Persons (3-0), 28, Stockton, Calif.
(4-0), 27, Fenton, Mo.
(3-0), 26, Metheun, Mass.
Zach Cummings (15-3), 28, Kansas City, Mo.
(4-1), 27, Sparks, Nev.
, (6-1), 21, Anchorage, Alaska
(9-2), 24, Tallahassee, Fla.
Nik Fehete (5-1), 32, Las Vegas, Nev.
(5-1), 30, Colorado Springs, Colo.
(5-0), 20, Yuma, Ariz.
(3-1), 27, Molohai, Hawaii
(7-2), 28, New York City, N.Y.
(15-4-1), 29, Umea, SWE
(4-1-1), 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.
(5-1), 29, Taylorsville, Utah
(7-3), 24, Atlanta, Ga.
(7-1), 26, Millville, N.J.
Tune-in and watch who will become the next THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER on FX!