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'The Ultimate Fighter 14' To Feature Bantamweights, Lightweights; Set For Two-Hour Premiere

'The Ultimate Fighter Season 14' will feature the featherweight and bantamweight divisions for the first time in the show's history. The season debuts September 14th on Spike TV.

The Ultimate Fighter 14 coaches, Jason Miller and Michael Bisping.
The Ultimate Fighter 14 coaches, Jason Miller and Michael Bisping.

On the heels of the most underperforming season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter' since its inception, UFC president Dana White believes the program has received the shot in the arm it so desperately needed. For the first time in the show's history, the featherweight and bantamweight divisions will be on display during the upcoming season, according to White.

After an uninspired season featuring Brock LesnarJunior dos Santos, and a slew of welterweight prospects achieved the lowest ratings of the show's seven-year run -- a marked 27% drop from Season 12, which pitted Georges St. Pierre against Josh Koscheck -- many believed the ‘The Ultimate Fighter' to be on its last legs. However, White believes this season's competitors have what it takes to reinvigorate the franchise, and has scheduled the first-ever two-hour season premiere to prove it. (via MMAJunkie)

"You guys have heard me say when I think a season is going to be a great season," White said over the weekend. "This is a great season, great season. Never in the history of the show have we done a two-hour first episode. That's how good these fights are. You guys know me and the way that think and how I am. You think I would ever put on a two-hour fights to get into the house if the fights weren't amazing? This season is awesome."

The focus on the newly fashioned featherweight and bantamweight divisions will likely serve the UFC well in the future. It works two-fold, creating a buzz around the still unknown divisions while creating fan-recognizable names to flood the talent pool after the show's conclusion.

‘The Ultimate Fighter Season 14' is expected to debut September 14th on Spike TV. Teams will be coached by a pair of popular UFC middleweights, Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller