Remember when The Ultimate Fighter used to be more than just another program on your DVR recording list? You may have to brush the dust off your brain to think that far back, but luckily TUF 18 is shaping up to change that.

TUF 18 marks the first time women will be on the show. It also will be the first time women will be in the Ultimate Fighter house. By combining these elements with the show’s aging format, the UFC may have just discovered the Fountain of Youth for TUF.

While hardcore MMA fans are perfectly content with watching people hit pads and train, the casual fans want to tune in to some drama. Put a handful of men and women under one roof for an extended period of time and drama will flow as easily as Tito Ortiz’s excuses after a loss.

As anyone who is married or lives with their significant other can tell you, men and women were not made to live under the same roof. It may seem like smooth sailing in the early going, but expect this upcoming season to be full of drama that the UFC will gladly use for advertisement. The Real World aspect may not appeal to everyone, but it will generate some ratings, even if only for the first few episodes. And if viewers can at least tune in for those first few episodes, the likelihood of them continuing to watch should increase.

So what if reality television isn’t your thing? I get it. That kind of trash belongs on MTV right after Teen Mom or before Jersey Shore: It’s Over But I Still Need a Job So I’m Hosting a Talk Show. Well, luckily for those fans, TUF 18 could provide one of the most talented casts since the good ol’ days of “Suga” Rashad Evans angering Matt Hughes because farm boys can’t dance.

Some notable WMMA competitors, including Shayna Baszler and Tara LaRosa, have been confirmed as attending the tryouts. And it seems UFC President Dana White has also been impressed with the talent thus far into the audition process. With talented fighters showing up, one would have to think the fighters making the final cut will be as talented, if not more so, as the ladies already on the UFC’s roster.

Another factor to punch in is the fact that female fights are often times some of the more exciting bouts on a card. The UFC has put on just two women’s bouts thus far, and both were very entertaining. Therefore, TUF 18 should up the ante for the excitement level of the in-cage action.

And finally, there’s Ronda Rousey, who will coach opposite her upcoming opponent, Cat Zingano. The reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion is unquestionably one of the biggest stars in the sport and is sure to draw a few eyeballs to the show. The UFC has attempted to insert its stars as coaches in years past and it hasn’t worked out well, but few had the drawing power of Rousey. With quite a number of fans liking Rousey based on her looks, she won’t have to go over the top to entertain like coaches on past seasons. All she needs to do is be on the episode.

Now, I’m sure there are those of you out there who don’t want to watch women compete in MMA or think it’s some fad that will pass in time like the Heelys. But even if they don’t tune in, is it likely to drop the ratings any lower than what they have been? To those of you out there who feel that way, give the ladies a chance. I mean, it’s not like they can be any more boring than watching Brock Lesnar talk about chicken shit/salad or Urijah Faber talk about Dominick Cruz’s widow’s peak.

Photo: Ronda Rousey (L) and Cat Zingano (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.