'The Ultimate Fighter' (TUF) season 16 hasn't even started airing, but tryouts were announced today by UFC for season 17, which is scheduled to air on FX in early 2013.
UFC said today the spring 2013 season would feature light heavyweights (205 pounds) and middleweights (185 pounds). Tryouts will be held at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Grand Ballroom, on Sept. 17th.
Coaches for the show are yet to be named.
While not specified in the release, based on the past season and plans for the upcoming season, UFC will pick 16 fighters in each weight class. There would be eight fights in each class on the first episode of the season, with the winners advancing into the house. In the event of an injury to one of the winners, the most impressive losers still healthy could be brought back as replacements.
It will be more than four years since TUF has had light heavyweights. The most recent was the fall of 2008, when Ryan Bader, coached by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, won the tournament beating Vinny Magalhaes. The light heavyweight division winners has arguably had the most success of any TUF weight class as far as producing UFC stars. The two prior light heavyweight tournaments saw Forrest Griffin win season one in 2005, and go on to become one of UFC's most popular fighters and a light heavyweight champion. Michael Bisping won season three in 2006. Bisping, who has moved to middleweight, has become one of UFC's best known fighters and next faces Brian Stann at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto in a key match in division rankings.
The previous middleweight winners haven't been as successful. Kendall Grove came from season three, and spent several years in UFC before being cut. Travis Lutter earned a title shot winning the season four middleweight tournament in late 2006, but failed to make weight, lost to Anderson Silva, and was cut after a loss to Rich Franklin. Amir Sadollah won season seven in the spring of 2008, and remains a regular fighter but has never reached major contender status. Court McGee, winning season 11 in 2010, has gone 2-2 in UFC competition since winning the tournament, most recently losing to Nick Ring at UFC 149 on July 21 in Calgary, Alberta.