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Canada/Middle East R Neck & Neck 4 1st Int. TUF

JKhrome12011-03-01 05:26:48 +0000 #1
Canada and Middle East are "neck and neck" for first international "TUF"

by Steven Marrocco on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:45 am ET

The first international season of "The Ultimate Fighter" competition-reality series will either be based in Canada or the Middle East, according to UFC president Dana White.

White said the promotion and its broadcast partner Spike TV are laying groundwork to film separate seasons in both countries. However, he is unsure which will go first.

"They're neck and neck," White recently said.

The UFC boss said in May that a potential Canadian version of the show would be targeted for 2011. This past weekend, he hinted at a February 2011 start date for an international season.

Spike TV, the reality show's broadcast home since 2005, airs in Canada and the U.S. The UFC currently airs "TUF" on the Orbit Showtime Network in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, though it's unknown whether a potential Middle East-based season would air weekly on the subscription TV channel.

The promotion twice has utilized the United Kingdom to recruit international talent for the reality show. "The Ultimate Fighter 3" featured several U.K.-based fighters, including the season's eventual winner, Michael Bisping. Three years later, the promotion returned to discover a massive increase in MMA's popularity, which led them to recruit an entire U.K. team to vie against a U.S.-based team on "The Ultimate Fighter 9."

Canada's deep talent pool and unofficial status as "the mecca of mixed martial arts" makes a Canadian version of "TUF" a no-brainer, though White said fans could be surprised with the level of talent that could come out of a potential show held in the Middle East.

"Look at the U.K.," White said. "When we went to the U.K. the first time – it was in like 2002 or 2003 – and there was nothing. Literally nothing. Ian Freeman had come out of (the U.K.). We did that fight at the Royal Albert Hall, and we sold like 4,500 tickets to that thing. Look at it now.

"In the Middle East – in Abu Dhabi, (United Arab Emirates) – part of kids' curriculum in school is jiu jitsu. From kindergarten up, it's like English or math. It's mandatory. You have to take jiu jitsu. Trust me, it's a lot bigger there than you realize."

The UFC executive also is targeting China as an eventual host to "TUF" but hinted the sport's popularity in Asia lags behind Canada and the Middle East, which could make talent scouting a difficult task.

White said he "probably" will be present during filming for a Canada-based show but not the Middle East.

"We're trying to figure that out, how to get me the hell out of [the Middle East]," he said.

Strick902011-03-01 05:39:02 +0000 #2
This is getting weirdly interesting.
Tobes2011-03-01 05:57:51 +0000 #3
oh sweet mother of god, let it come to Toronto and let it be another season of LWs. I will literally kill chew off my opponents lips and gauge out their eyes when the ref is not looking to get on that show.



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