In a recent interview with The Sun, UFC President Dana White offered sharp criticism of the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, which is slated to feature a United States vs. United Kingdom format.
“I said from day one I hate the UK v USA idea. It’s dumb, I don’t like it — it’s not USA v the UK, we’re looking for the best fighter in the world. We put on a card one time, the USA v Canada, it was f***ing retarded.
“I don’t care if you’re from the UK, Croatia or Brazil because at the end of the day, when Michael Bisping comes to America — Americans don’t boo him. When GSP comes down and fights in the US more people cheer for him than the guy who’s from America! When Tim Sylvia from the United States fought Antonio Nogueira from Brazil, everybody booed Sylvia on the way in and cheered for Nogueira. The reason is because in this sport it’s not country versus country. You either like the guy’s fighting style or personality — nationality has nothing to do with it. That’s the way it used to be with boxing, with the exception of Ricky Hatton because everybody hates Floyd Mayweather! But with the exception of that, you never saw guys from one country cheering a guy from a different country. That’s what’s changing in what we’re doing. We’re looking for the best fighters in the world — this country versus that country is irrelevant.”
Recent casting calls for The Ultimate Fighter 9, which will feature lightweights and welterweights, in London and Chicago netted a record number of participants despite more strict guidelines.
UK star Michael Bisping is slated to coach the UK squad while the US is likely to be coached by Dan Henderson. The coaches are then likely to square off in a featured middleweight bout in mid-2009.