By Joe Lucia, Awful Announcing
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and the outspoken Chael Sonnen will be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC's reality show, for its third season on FX as reported by the LA Times.
Jones came under fire back in August for declining a fight with Sonnen after original opponent Dan Henderson had to pull out of his fight with Jones just a week and a half before it was scheduled. Jones would instead fight Vitor Belfort three weeks after the canceled UFC 151 was originally scheduled, and won via submission in the fourth round, but not without nearly getitng his arm broken by Belfort in the first round.
The loud-mouthed Sonnen, whose two fights with middleweight champion Anderson Silva turned him into a superstar, has been verbally bashing Jones for weeks, seemingly trying to talk his way into a title shot (which UFC president Dana White said wouldn't happen). After all that, it appears Sonnen's tactics have worked.
The show will begin taping on October 29th and conclude in January, with Jones and Sonnen fighting on April 27th at a UFC pay-per-view, the site of which has yet to be determined. Because of the scheduling of the fight, it looks like this season of The Ultimate Fighter will be airing in the early spring part of the schedule, as opposed to the late spring that has been the norm over the years for the show.
Having both of these fighters coach the show is a nice effort by the UFC to recapture some viewers that the show has lost over the years, though its new Friday timeslot on FX and stale format likely aren't helping matters that much. Sonnen is a loose cannon and a master at promoting fights through his unique, outspoken, pro-wrestling infused antics. If a season with the phenom Jones and the charismatic Sonnen can't be a ratings draw, it might be time for the UFC and FX to look at drastic changes to the show.
UPDATE: Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting is reporting that The Ultimate Fighter is apparently going to be moving to a weeknight starting with the Jones-Sonnen season, and an announcement of the exact day is "coming"