The upcoming 12th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality-competition series today begins production in Las Vegas in anticipation of its Sept. 15 debut on Spike TV.
Officials today announced the start of the show’s taping. Additionally, they confirmed that – as with the current 11th season of the show – the lightweights-only season of the show features 28 fighters for the 32-man tournament.
Touted as a surprise format change with “TUF 11,” the field of 28 assures that two eliminated cast members get a second opportunity to reenter the tourney as “wild card” picks.
Kyacey Uscola and Kris McCray, who made the “TUF 11″ cast after winning their elimination-round bouts, ultimately lost in the first round (16 slots) of the tourney. However, they got a second life as this season’s wild-card picks. McCray won the wild-card fight, upset Kyle Noke in the quarterfinals, and now meets Josh Bryant in the semis.
This season’s group of lightweights get coaching from two of the top welterweight fighters in the world with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and top contender Josh Koscheck. The two competitors meet in a season-ending coach-vs.-coach title fight at a yet-to-be-determined December pay-per-view event.
Team St. Pierre includes jiu-jitsu aces John Danaher and Shawn Williams, Muay Thai specialists Phil Nurse and Jean-Charles Skarbowsky, and St-Pierre’s longtime MMA coach, Firas Zahabi.
Team Koscheck includes Strikeforce heavyweight/Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier, boxing coach Teddy Lucio, American Kickboxing Academy founder/former kickboxing champion Javier Mendez, AKA head MMA trainer Bob Cook, and noted Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo competitor/coach Dave Camarillo.