ESPN will bring Ultimate Fighting Championship fans exclusive coverage of the new series of The Ultimate Fighter. The 17th series will feature UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and number one contender Chael Sonnen each coaching a team of fighters competing to earn a contract in the UFC.
ESPN will broadcast each episode around the same time as it goes on the air in the US. The first broadcast will be at 1am on the evening of Tuesday 22nd January with the two-hour season premiere – and continuing every Tuesday night thereafter (times vary – check TV listings).
Repeats will be shown on Wednesday evenings at 10pm, with the exception of the first episode, which will be repeated on Thursday 24th January at midnight.
A total of 28 middleweight (185lbs) fighters will start the first episode, with each competing in an elimination bout to earn one of 14 places in The Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas. The winning fighters will be drafted into teams of seven by coaches Jones and Sonnen, who will take each other on in the headline bout at UFC 159 on Saturday 27th April.
Two English competitors are among the 28 hopefuls who will feature in the first episode – Luke Barnatt from Cambridge, and Frasier Opie from Milton Keynes.