With UFC 124 now in Dana White’s rear-view mirror, the UFC president is expected to make a decision soon on who will coach the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter which begins taping in January. Dana revealed who the potential coaching pairs are to MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta.
Chael Sonnen & Wanderlei Silva: Following a stern warning to back off Brazil and subsequent war of words over Twitter, The Axe Murderer and The Most Interesting Man in the World seem to be the fan favorite to lead a group of wannabe “Ultimate Fighters” this Spring. Is it too soon to put Sonnen in such a high-profile role though? He would be eligible to fight when the season ends, but would still be under suspension when the show tapes.
Brock Lesnar & Frank Mir: When Dana White suggested Lesnar-Mir II, fans booed the idea right out of the building. Still, it’s one of the UFC’s most profitable rivalries and neither guy has anything lined up yet. Fans may not want it now, but after 12 weeks of bickering in The Ultimate Fighter gym, maybe they’ll want it then, or at least that’s what the UFC might bet on. Not to mention, Brock Lesnar would be ratings gold. The question is, how do you coax Brock Lesnar out of his wilderness refuge for 6 weeks to shoot a reality show? (Update: Never mind about Frank Mir not having any fights lined up. Looks like they’re trying to book him against Brendan Schaub for sometime in early 2011)
Urijah Faber & Miguel Torres: Hardcore fans have clamored for a WEC edition of TUF for years, and now that our little heroes are finally in the UFC fold, we’re finally going to see bantamweight and featherweight editions of TUF. The question is, when? Well, it could happen as soon as TUF 13 with two of the WEC’s biggest stars, Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres, at the helm. Only problem is Miguel Torres has a fight scheduled for Feb. 5 against Antonio Banuelos that Dana probably forgot about. Coaching TUF would be a major distraction from his training. File this under “unlikely.”
My personal choice is Wand-Sonnen. If anyone can bring The Axe Murderer out of Wanderlei Silva, it’s Chael Sonnen, and I’d love to see it. What’s your pick?
Update: It looks like there could be a major roadblock in putting Chael Sonnen in one of the coaching slots. Keith Kizer says Sonnen would have to approved for a second’s license by the NSAC to be eligible.
Sonnen has also been rumored to be a leading candidate to take over the coaching duties for the 13th season of the “Ultimate Fighter” reality show opposite Wanderlei Silva. Filming is expected to begin in early 2011, but it wouldn’t happen without approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, tells MMAWeekly.com that Sonnen would have to apply first and the commission would have to approve his license to coach on the show.
“He would need a second’s license from the Commission,” Kizer wrote in an e-mail to MMAWeekly.com. “If he applies for such a license, his application would be placed on a Commission agenda for hearing and decision.”
That sounds like quite the risk for the UFC. It’s not like the commissions meet everyday to decide on issues like these, and what happens if he’s not approved? January is right around the corner.
Update 2: Alright, well I guess we can scratch everything in this post. Fighters Only is reporting that none of the above options are options anymore. They didn’t give any reasons but it won’t be Wand and Sonnen. Mir is in talks to headline UFC on Versus 3 against Brendan Schaub, and Urijah Faber has been ruled out. They did say a pair of former WEC fighters are possibilities but didn’t reveal who they are.