Dana White: Next TUF house is 'terrified' of one guy

Esther Lin

BURBANK, Calif. -- Dana White knows the drill by now. He's promised the greatest, most amazing season in the history of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) so often that such talk runs the risk of going in one ear and out the other.

But the UFC president couldn't resist making the pitch again Wednesday during a media luncheon. With the 17th season of the company's flagship reality show set to kick off with coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen on Tuesday, Jan. 22 on FX, well ... we'll let White take it from here:

"I know you guys are going to call bulls--- on me and all that," he said. "I told you guys, last season of The Ultimate Fighter was the worst season in the history of TUF. This next season is so awesome and so badass. We have a guy on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, every fight he's in, someone goes to the hospital."

If that's not enough to convince you to check out this nameless fighter who gives all his foes free ambulance rides, here's more:

"The whole house is terrified of this guy," White said. "F-- terrified. Everybody. I picked this fight, and this guy is lined up with the guy I'm telling you about, and the guy has a nervous breakdown in the house over the weekend. Has a f-- nervous breakdown. Freaks out and has a nervous breakdown. This guy scared the living s--- out of everyone. It's awesome."

White was equally exuberant about TUF's move from Friday nights to Tuesday.

"Fridays suck," White said. "I think it's the worst night on TV. It's supposed to be the second-worst night on TV. Saturday's supposed to be the worst. But, for instance, The Ultimate Fighter F inale on Friday, the one from Australia, did a million [viewers]. Saturday did 1.3 million. The male 18-34 demos were off the charts on Saturday night. I honestly think Friday night is the worst night on TV. ... You have people getting off work. No one gets off work on Friday and runs home and watches TV. You get off work on Friday, you're going out, no one's watching TV.

"Everyone has that Saturday where you're laying around and you'll watch TV on Saturday night or whatever," White continued. "Friday's the worst night for television. It's all older people watching TV on Saturdays. That's where there's all these myths when we do these things on Saturday, [people say] ‘Murder She Wrote' beat you on Saturday.' Of course they did. That's all the old people at home watching people on TV. Saturday night. That's why they beat us. But the male viewers in our demos are off the charts, number one."

But one entity's definition of success in a demo isn't necessarily the same as another's. White says he appreciates his television partner's willingness to switch TUF's run night.

"Everyone was taking about the death of TUF on Friday nights," White said. "Not for FX it wasn't. For us it was. It was terrible for us. But for them, they were top three all season in males 18-34 on a night when they'd be running a movie that would be hit or miss for them in different demos. So, believe me, they wanted to keep us on Fridays. They made me a promise that if the thing didn't pick up and the numbers didn't pick up, they'd move it. They stuck by their word. But the numbers on Fridays, they wanted us to stay there."

So, to go through our TUF checklist: Greatest season ever: Check. New fighter who will blow your mind: Check. New, more favorable timeslot: Check. What's left? How about something about the coaches?

"The chemistry between those two is actually really weird," said White. "It starts off bad, gets a little better, then it gets weird again. You know, Chael likes to play the bad guy."

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