FX and the Ultimate Fighting Championship® organisation today unveiled the identities of the sixteen Australian and British mixed martial artists set to represent their nations in The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK – The Smashes™.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF™) finalists are among the top fighters in both nations’ lightweight and welterweight divisions, with the Australian team comprised of representatives from NSW, QLD and WA, while the UK team features fighters from all over England as well as Northern Ireland.
“These guys have definitely made the second international TUF show ‘can’t miss’ TV,” said UFC President Dana White. “Going into this thing, I had no idea just how much the Aussies and the Brits can’t stand losing to each other. Now I know.”
Premiering Wednesdays at 7:30pm AEST on FX in Australia from September 19, the 13-episode, Australian-produced series follows the selected fighters as they live together in The Ultimate Fighter® house, training and competing against eachother for a prized contract with the UFC®, culminating with a live three-hour finale in December.
Guided by Australian coach George Sotiropoulos, Team Australia comprises of:
Grant Blackler, 23, Sunshine Coast
Patrick Iodice, 19, GoldCoast
Richie Vaculik, 29, Sydney
Ben Wall, 23, Brisbane
Ben Alloway, 31, GoldCoast
Xavier Lucas, 31, Perth
Manuel Rodriguez, 27, Sydney
Robert Whitaker, 21, Sydney
English coach Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson takes charge of Team UK:
Colin Fletcher, 29, Sunderland
Norman Parke, 25, Bushmills, Nth Ireland Michael Pastou, 30, Essex
Mike Wilkinson, 24, Leigh
Luke Newman, 22, London
Bola Omoyele, 30, London
Valentino Petrescu, 30, Essex
Brad Scott, 23, Melksham
The two lightweight coaches – both alumni of The Ultimate Fighter television series in the Unites States – will also go head-to-head in the Octagon® at the live finale.
Of mentoring his charges, Australian coach George Sotiropoulos said: “It’s a really diverse group of guys on the team, but the thing that’s uniting them is that everyone’s motivated and focused. There’s a lot of personal and national pride at stake but they’re going into the competition with a positive attitude and are really pulling together as a team. I’m very impressed by their maturity.”
British coach Ross Pearson is confident about Team UK’s chances: “Having been where they are, I know exactly what the guys are facing. They’re taking it all in their stride and, despite being so far from home, they’re eager to prove themselves, so morale is high. They each bring unique strengths to the team so the sparks are really going to fly when they meet the Aussies in the Octagon.”
This is only the second time in TUF’s seven-year history that teams will represent their country of origin, the first taking place in 2009 when Team USA took on Team UK.
Viewers outside of Australia will be able to tune-in and watch the series on TUF.tv.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag: #TUFSmashes #TeamAUS #TeamUK
About The Ultimate Fighter®
Now in its 16th season in the US, and second international edition, The Ultimate Fighter®, an integral property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, remainsthe longest running cable ‘non-scripted sports competition’ series on TV, drawing millions of viewers on a weekly basis.
The show stars undiscovered professional MMA fighters living together in The Ultimate Fighter house, and follows them as they train and compete against each other for a prized contract with the UFC®. Many current and past UFC fighters are alumni of the show, with some competitors going on to become coaches in future seasons.
FX is a new entertainment channel that launched exclusively on FOXTEL in 2012. Featuring quality, character-driven and often unconventional stories, FX’s contemporary and sharp style resonates particularly with the male audience. FX is FOX International Channels’ first entertainment channel to launch in Australia. Beyond these shores, international versions of the channel reach 47 countries including the US and UK. For more information visit www.fxtv.com.au, follow @fxtvau on Twitter or watch channel 123 on FOXTEL.
About Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Universally recognized for its action-packed, can’t-miss events that have sold out some of the biggest arenas and stadiums across the globe, the UFC® is the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas and with offices in London, Toronto and Beijing, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world.
UFC programming is broadcast in over 149 countries and territories, to nearly one billion homes worldwide, in 20 different languages. The UFC also connects with tens of millions of fans through its website, UFC.com, as well as social media sites Facebook and Twitter. UFC President Dana White is considered one of the most accessible and followed executives in sports, with over two million followers on Twitter. Ancillary UFC businesses include best-selling DVDs, an internationally distributed magazine, UFC.TV offering live event broadcasts and video on demand around the world, the best-selling UFC Undisputed® video game franchise distributed by THQ, and a new franchise indevelopment with EA, UFC GYM®, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo® festivals, branded apparel and trading cards.
For more information or Australian UFC fight news visit au.ufc.com or follow @UFC_Australia on Twitter and to catch up on British UFC fight news visit uk.ufc.com or follow @UFC_UK on Twitter.
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Coming up next: UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort is LIVE on Pay-Per-View Saturday, September 22nd from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario at 7 pm PT/10 pm ET. For more info on UFC 152 or the UFC, visit www.UFC.com