Morning Report: 'The Ultimate Fighter 15' Cast List, Ben Henderson's Rejected TUF 9 Audition

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ever since it's inception in 2005, The Ultimate Fighter has proven to be the UFC's cornerstone for farming young talent, providing an ample slew of champions and contenders over the show's fourteen seasons. So with every release of a new season's cast, like we saw yesterday, there exists the faintest glimmer that we may be witnessing the rise of the next great champion. It's what draws us back year after year.

But you already know all that. And plus, the show is still as hit-or-miss as they come. Since 2009, just 21 of the 75 contestants presently hold a UFC contract, good for a lowly 28-percent success rate (not counting TUF 14).

So you're telling me, in a season that produced just three of those 21 names, former WEC champ and new UFC lightweight champ Ben Henderson couldn't make the cut? That seems baffling.

But what do I know. You be the judge. Check out Bendo's rejected TUF 9 audition tape, and catch up with all of yesterday's big news with the Morning Report.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Carlos Condit willing to wait for 'Michael Jordan of MMA.' In speaking with our own Ariel Helwani, Condit revealed why he would be ready to wait for Georges St. Pierre if need be.

Ultimate Fighter cast announced. The UFC and FX revealed the 32-fighter cast that will participate in the The Ultimate Fighter 15.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Donald Cerrone booked for May 15. With an injury to Yves Edwards, Cerrone received a new opponent for his UFC on FUEL 3 lightweight duel.

Bellator's Blagoi Ivanov reportedly stabbed in heart. The undefeated Bulgarian heavyweight is clinging to life after a Sunday morning barroom brawl, according to reports.

Bas Rutten talks PRIDE, UFC 144, and K-1. Matt Roth caught up with El Guapo at Legacy Fighting Championship 10 as he prepared to celebrate his 47th birthday over the weekend.

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MEDIA STEW

It's pretty ridiculous that just three years ago Ben Henderson was getting rejected by The Ultimate Fighter 9, and now he's the No. 1 lightweight in the world.

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Fedor indulged himself in a little sambo while he waits on the shelf. (HT: Middle Easy)

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This right here might be the greatest hype video we've seen all year. (HT: Bloody Elbow)

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Wanderlei Silva walks the streets of Brazil and gets his motivational speaking on as he prepares for The Ultimate Fighter Brasil.

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Remember that time when Frank Mir absolutely shattered Big Nog's arm? You know, there was that grizzly x-ray of the damage. Wait, that was just a few months ago? Well call him Wolverine, because apparently he's back in the gym already. (HT: MMA Mania)

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I'm not really sure what this is about, but I'm sure it has something to do with Anderson Silva.

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That cake looks terrified.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, Feb. 27, 2012):

- UFC on FUEL 3: Yves Edwards (41-18-1) out, Jeremy Stephens (20-7) in against Donald Cerrone (17-4, 1 NC)

- Bellator 60: Shamar Bailey (13-5) vs. Josh Shockley (8-1)

- Bellator 60: Mike Corey (11-2-1) vs. Bobby Reardanz (8-10)

- Bellator 60: Lance Surma (1-0) vs. Eric Oria (0-0)

- Bellator 60: Cory Galloway (4-0) vs. Jake Nauracy (8-0)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day goes to BE reader hobbie: The Right "Answer": The Case for an Immediate Frankie Edgar Rematch.

I never fail to marvel at the odd, utterly unpredictable process by which MMA fans choose what "controversial" decisions to care about.

Nick Diaz doesn't get the nod over Carlos Condit? Robbery, I say! Mike Bisping squeaks past Matt Hamill? Home cooking at it's worst! BJ Penn doesn't get the decision over GSP? I hate wrestling! GSP's a cheater! RAHHHHHH!

And yet other times, the chorus of fans is remarkably silent. Ellenberger vs. Sanchez was a razor close decision featuring a possible 10-8 round - yet not a peep was made about that decision. Anthony Pettis, he of showtime kick legend, had an extremely close fight with Jeremy Stephens that no one got too worked up about. I recall lots of talk about "everybody being a winner" when the ref's raised Dan Henderson's hand instead of "Shogun" Rua's - but switch Dan's hand for Lyoto Machida's that gets raised instead of Rua's, it was an affront to the fight gods.

It's fascinating stuff. You could write a master's thesis on the psyche of the MMA fan when it comes to close decisions. Case in point: last weekend's Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson title fight.

Found something entertaining, brutal, or bizarre you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just send it to @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's post.

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