A field of international fighters has been set for The Ultimate Fighter Live, which begins its inaugural season on FX March 9 with a special two-and-a-half-hour live premiere airing at 9pm ET/8pm CT (tape-delayed in Pacific and Mountain time zones at 9pm PT/10pm MT).
The list of finalists was trimmed from more than 500 prospective entrants from around the world, and includes fighters in the lightweight (155 pounds) division from the United States, England, Northern Ireland and Brazil.
The Ultimate Fighter Live will run for 13 consecutive weeks, featuring live fights every episode, and culminate with a championship fight on June 1, in a three-hour finale. Following its special time slot premiere on March 9, the series will move to its regular time Fridays at 10pm ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) for the remaining 12 weeks. Telecasts air live nationally on DirecTV channel 248 and DISH channel 136.
As part of its new agreement with TUF, FX will also be televising a second 13-week season of The Ultimate Fighter Live this summer. There will be two 13-week seasons of the series on FX annually for the next seven years, with the eventual winner of each season receiving a six-figure contract from the UFC. The 13 weeks of taping are more than twice as long as previous TUF seasons (which ran six), and, unlike past editions, when each season was taped months in advance of its broadcast, new episodes with live fights will now air each week.
The March 9 premiere includes 16 live fights, with the competitors including:
Akbarh Arreloa, Chula Vista, Calif.
Al Iaquinta, Wantagh, N.Y.
Ali Maclean, Belfast, North Ireland
Andy Ogle, Tynemouth, England
Austin Lyons, Cordova, Tenn.
Brendan Weafer, New York, N.Y.
Chris Tickle, Bloomington, Ill.
Cody Pfister, Amarillo, Texas
Cristiano Marcello, Curitiba, Brazil
Chase Hackett, Littleton, Colo.
Chris Saunders, Long Beach, Calif.
Dakota Cochrane, Omaha, Neb.
Daron Cruickshank, Wayne, Mich.
Drew Dober, Omaha, Neb.
Erin Beach, San Diego, Calif.
James Krause, Blue Springs, Mich.
James Vick, Fort Worth, Texas
Jared Carlsten, Los Angeles, Calif.
Jeff Smith, Mechanicsburg, Penn.
Jeremy Larsen, Phoenix, Ariz.
Joe Proctor, Pembroke, Mass.
John Cofer, Hull, Ga.
Johnavan Vistante, Pearl City, Hawaii
Jon Tuck, Hagtna, Guam
Jordan Rinaldi, Matthews, N.C.
Justin Lawrence, Villa Ridge, Mo.
Mark Glover, Liverpool, England
Michael Chiesa, Spokane Valley, Wash.
Myles Jury, San Diego, Calif.
Mike Rio, Miami, Fla.
Sam Sicilia, Spokane Valley, Wash.
Vinc Pichel, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
The previously announced coaches for the two teams will be current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and former WEC featherweight champion and current top contender, Urijah Faber. Cruz and Faber are no strangers to each other — the popular UFC superstars and rivals have split two previous fights and will clash for a third time at UFC 148 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
Following the live fights during the series premiere episode, or “Fight In,” the field will be halved. The 16 survivors will then be broken up into two teams of eight. Each team will train with each other and reside in a house together in Las Vegas for the duration of the season. One fighter from each team will be selected by their coach to fight at the end of each weekly installment on FX for the right to advance in the competition.