The upcoming second season of FX's 'The Ultimate Fighter' (TUF) and the 16th overall for the television franchise now have coaches: heavyweights Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, the UFC announced today. USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie first reported the news.
The show will be broadcast on FX in September with the finale to be held in December in Las Vegas, Nev. This season will feature a welterweight cast with an initial 32 of them vying for the coveted 16 slots that ultimately live in the fighter house and compete in the tournament.
This upcoming season also marks the return to a taped format from the show. Last season - its first for FX - TUF experimented with a live format. While the week's activities and drama of the cast were taped each week and broadcast to audiences in a packaged format, each week's final fight or fights were shown live on Friday nights. TUF will remain on Friday nights for season 16, but the live format for each week's bouts is being dropped.
"When I found out I was going to be a TUF coach I was like ‘Wow me!' When I found out I was coaching against Shane Carwin I was so happy to get a chance to compete against this guy," Nelson was quoted as saying in a UFC press release. "As for being in the same room as him, I try not hang out with people that make me feel icky on the inside but, to coach TUF, I will make an exception.
"Shane Carwin can think he is the better fighter and coach, but I will do my best and try to represent the Average Joe and show my team that, with hard work, you can walk away a winner against any fighter."
Carwin, 37, has been out over a year after receiving multiple surgeries to repair neck and back-related injuries. He last competed in June of 2011 at UFC 131 where he dropped a unanimous decision to now-champion Junior dos Santos.
"I also asked to coach against Roy Nelson," Carwin stated via release. "The fans know how I like to conduct myself both in and out of the Octagon, and I respect every fighter, coach, official and fan in the UFC. But I cannot respect a man like Roy Nelson - because he shows no respect himself. He is a keyboard warrior who doesn't have the guts to talk trash to my face, but now he's going to have to be in the same room, the same gym and finally the same Octagon as me.
"I know I am a better fighter and trainer than he is. I will prove I'm a better trainer in TUF and then, when we fight, I will hit him harder than anyone has ever hit him and teach him some respect."
While Carwin and Nelson will fight at the end of the season, it's not clear what title implications exist for the winner.