By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The next international season of the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter reality series is set, as the organization on Thursday announced that an “Australia vs. U.K.” series will come this year. The show will film in Australia, and will be dubbed “The Smashes” – a play on a 130-year cricket rivalry between the two countries.
Tryouts come this June for fighters ranging from 61kg to 77kg (135 lbs. to 170 lbs.), though the actual weight class (or classes) for the season won’t be determined until after tryouts. The auditions come to Sydney, Australia on June 12, and to London, England, on June 15. For more information, including registration forms, rules, and qualification criteria, fighters can visit http://au.ufc.com/TUFForm (AUS) and http://uk.ufc.com/TUFForm (UK).
“Australia and the UK have a fierce, long-standing rivalry, and where better to settle the score than in the UFC’s Octagon,” said Marshall Zelaznik, UFC’s Managing Director of International Development. “The popularity of MMA has exploded in Australia and the UK, with gyms opening all over the respective countries. There is an athlete in one of those gyms who hasn’t had the chance to show the world what he can do – The Ultimate Fighter is going give to him that opportunity. We’re going to discover the UFC’s future stars, you can bet on it.”
The UFC’s goals with their international editions of TUF are to one day set up a series of tournaments featuring winners from the respective seasons, especially creating a “world cup” of TUF talent, with a global victor emerging. While they’ve got a ways to go, this second international edition, following the currently airing “TUF: Brazil”, is another step in that direction.
Penick’s Analysis: This was expected to be the next one, and the UFC is looking at both the Philippines and India for their next seasons after this. This is only the second time they’ll have done a “country vs. country” season, following season nine’s “U.S. vs. U.K.” tilt, and it’s a good way to bring more UK and Australian talent into the fold. I’ll be interested to see who they tap as the coaches for this one; they’ve got more options on the U.K. front than Australia at this point; but that’s all information that we’ll get in coming months.