Chael Sonnen draws the coaching assignment for “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17. | Photo: Sherdog.com
With ratings falling to all-time lows, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will attempt to breathe new life into “The Ultimate Fighter” franchise by pitting light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen against one another as coaches for Season 17.
Filming for “The Ultimate Fighter 17” will reportedly begin on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas, leading to a January premiere featuring middleweight contestants. The finale is expected to take place in April, though Jones’ title bout with Sonnen will likely serve as a separate pay-per-view headliner on April 27. According to UFC President Dana White, the April date was necessary so that Jones could rehabilitate an arm injury suffered in his submission victory over Vitor Belfort last month.
The decision to go with Sonnen leaves former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Dan Henderson out in the cold. The 42-year-old Henderson was slated to challenge Jones for 205-pound gold in September before a knee injury forced his withdrawal.
Other stories of interest on Sherdog.com this week centered on Anderson Silva’s latest dazzling performance, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens’ legal issues, former Bellator Fighting Championships titleholder Eddie Alvarez’s free agency and the sudden retirement of 2006 Pride welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki.