The first international season of "The Ultimate Fighter" finally has a North American home.
"The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil," a Sau Paulo based version of the UFC's long-running reality series, will air on Fox-subsidiary Fuel TV, according to UFC President Dana White.
"Nobody knows this yet and it's the first time it's being told. And to be honest with you the deal isn't 100 percent done yet, but I'm so confident it's going to happen, I'll give it to you guys," White revealed to ESPN1100/98.9 FM in Las Vegas. "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil will air on Fuel TV. All this unique content that we're doing in these other parts of the world, Fuel TV is going to take."
Fuel TV officials have yet to comment on the announcement.
‘TUF: Brazil' is slated to begin filming later this month, with a debut date targeted for March 25th. The series will air locally on Brazilian network giant Globo TV every Sunday and conclude with a live finale in mid-June. Open tryouts for lightweight and middleweight prospects between the ages of 21 and 35 years old were held on December 14th, 2011.
Brazilian middleweights Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva have been tapped as season coaches and are expected to rematch on the season finale. The two previously fought in 1998, with Belfort blasting through Silva in just 44 seconds at UFC Brazil.
"This show in the United States is huge. It's one of the longest-running reality shows," White said in December. "It's incredibly popular, it's been huge for us there. We think it's going to be 1,000 times bigger in Brazil. The amount of talent that's in this country right now? There's an undiscovered Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Vitor Belfort or Wanderlei Silva."
While White understands that Fuel TV's estimated audience (36 millions homes) falls far short of the UFC's previous broadcast partner, Spike TV, and newest TUF launching pad, FX (both 100+ million), he continued to assert the fledging network will be an essential resource for fight fans. The UFC President even appeared to issue a challenge to cable networks directly.
"If you don't have it, [UFC fans will] go to where it is," White declared. "Really the only option for people who don't have it on Comcast or Time Warner, they can switch and go to DirecTV tomorrow and have it."