The Ultimate Fighter Returns To FX

The seventeenth season begins Tuesday with Jon Jones captaining against Chael Sonnen.

Ed Millerby Ed Miller

UFC will continue to build its brand on the FOX family of networks this winter, as The Ultimate Fighter enters its seventeenth season Tuesday at 8 PM on FX. 

The long-running reality MMA television series will once again select 14 combatants and place them onto two teams, one captained by UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and the other captained by challenger Chael Sonnen. 

The series will run for 13 weeks, beginning with a two-hour premiere and finishing with a three-hour finale live from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  Afterwards, the two coaches will battle for the light heavyweight title at UFC 159, set for Saturday, April 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Tuesday night’s premiere will feature 14 elimination scraps and those who are victorious in the opening round, or “Fight In”, will become the official cast members, earning a place in The Ultimate Fighter house.  The contestants will then be drafted by Jones and Sonnen onto opposing teams of seven and cameras will document their progression as the season continues.  The talent level this season might just be the best the series has ever seen.

“The quality of guys we have this season in unbelievable,” UFC President Dana White admitted. “From the fights to get into the house, to every single fight this season, I think the talent is some of the best I’ve ever seen on this show.”

The premiere comes on the heels of news that The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, the UFC’s first attempt to expand the series into another country, is drawing NFL-like numbers.  Though it’s failed to do as well in North America, The Ultimate Fighter is among FX’s top rated programs. 

Here is the complete list of combatants this season:

Dylan Andrews (16-4-1), 32, Gold Coast, AUS   Jake Heun (3-2), 25, Salt Lake City, Utah

Hito Andrews (9-2), 34, Sacramento, Calif.        Nicholas Hohring (3-0), 22, Valley Springs, Calif.

Luke Barnatt (5-0), 24, Cambridge, ENG           Mike Jaspar (6-0), 29, Camarillo, Calif.

Leo Bercier (7-2), 31, Great Falls, Montana      Bubba McDaniel (20-6), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.

Ryan Lee Q. Bigler (9-3), 28, Guam                  Frasier Opie (10-5), 25, Milton Keynes, ENG

Kevin Casey (5-2), 31, Hawthorne, Calif.           Frederick Persons (3-0), 28, Stockton, Calif.

Adam Cella (4-0), 27, Fenton, Mo.                     Jimmy Quinlan (3-0), 26, Metheun, Mass.

Zach Cummings (15-3), 28, Kansas City, Mo.   Scott Rosa (4-1), 27, Sparks, Nev.

Andy Enz, (6-1), 21, Anchorage, Alaska            Josh Samman (9-2), 24, Tallahassee, Fla.

Nik Fehete (5-1), 32, Las Vegas, Nev.              Gilbert Smith (5-1), 30, Colorado Springs,Colo.

Kelvin Gastelum (5-0), 20, Yuma, Ariz.            Eldon Sproat (3-1), 27, Molohai, Hawaii

Uriah Hall (7-2), 28, New York City, N.Y.            Tor Troeng (15-4-1), 29, Umea, SWE

Collin Hart (4-1-1), 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.        Eric Wahlin (5-1), 29, Taylorsville, Utah

Clint Hester (7-3), 24, Atlanta, Ga.                  Timothy Williams (7-1), 26, Millville, N.J.

Ed is a UFC/Extreme Sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller, and subscribe on Facebook @ CraveOnlineSports