There’s no better direct-delivery system to popularize fighters (or fights) than coaching slots on Spike’s five-year-old “Ultimate Fighter” franchise. 12 hours and three months of basic-cable promotion beats HBO’s “24/7” series in volume alone.
With a January start fast approaching, UFC’s Dana White told gathered media over the weekend that both Chael Sonnen/Wanderlei Silva and Urijah Faber/Miguel Torres were under consideration for the slots. From a television producer’s point of view, you want Sonnen: he guarantees good footage, clips, and manufactured melodrama. Silva is a good straight man, doing the slow burn in the background. It’d work.
Sonnen, who just got through a disclosure process for medically-approved testosterone, is still over the burner.Even if Sonnen were spotless, there’s a stronger case to be made for Faber and Torres getting a promotional engine behind them for the UFC’s introduction of lighter weight classes. There is still a vast audience in MMA who didn’t sample the WEC’s product and has little conception of the appeal of those divisions. Faber is already a celebrity, both have personalities, and recruiting bantam and featherweights would help get fans invested. Sonnen has many problems, but lack of self-promotion isn’t one of them. Haven’t the WEC guys waited long enough for exposure?