The flagship sports reality show of the UFC, The Ultimate Fighter, is moving from Spike TV to a new LIVE format on FX that will debut Friday, March 9, in a special two-hour season premiere starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Each following week, The Ultimate Fighter season 15 will air for one hour from 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET/PT every Friday night for 13 weeks LIVE on FX.
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and top 135-pound contender Urijah Faber will serve as coaches for opposing teams of lightweight and welterweight contestants competing for two six-figure contracts with the UFC.
Chuck Saftler, Executive Vice President for FX Networks, commented on the show’s new format:
“We believe that Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta), along with Executive Producer Craig Piligian, have come up with exciting new changes to the format of The Ultimate Fighter that will expand and grow the series. The fact that the fights at the end of each episode will now be televised live is certain to create a sense of urgency for UFC fans. Furthermore, the move of TUF to Friday nights will provide a great ratings boost to the network.”
The Ultimate Fighter closed out its fourteenth and final season on Spike TV this past Saturday night as 2.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the TUF 14 Finale. It was the highest rated and most-watched TUF Finale since Kimbo Slice fought on the TUF 10 Finale in 2009.
There is a long-standing feud between Cruz and Faber which should make for good television. Having fought twice before, and each winning once, the two will meet once again at the conclusion of their stint as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter in mid-2012.