A pair of UFC legends will coach respective teams on the upcoming third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, as the promotion announced Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin for the roles.
Both are familiar with the TUF process, as each have previously served in the head coaching role. Griffin was also a winner of the reality series and both men have wore the UFC light heavyweight title.
Below is the complete press release:
For the first time in UFC® history, the The Ultimate Fighter® series will feature two UFC legends and Hall of Famers, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, as coaches in the first season to be filmed and produced in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Now entering its third season, The Ultimate Fighter® Latin America will begin its production in late spring with an airing date set for August 2016. The season’s finale is slated for November 5 in Mexico City, Mexico at Arena Ciudad de Mexico.
The first Spanish speaking series of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, was launched in 2004 reaching an average of seven million viewers per episode in Mexico and millions more viewers around Latin America. The second season followed the footsteps of the first with viewership in UFC Network, Chanel 5 and 14 free-to-air networks. For 2016, UFC has recruited talent from all over the region and divided them into two teams: Team Liddell and Team Griffin. Both teams will represent a combination of Latin American countries. The series will also include special guest appearances by additional UFC athletes brought in by both coaches to enrich their team’s training experience.
Widely considered as one of the greatest UFC athletes of all time, Chuck Liddell is one of the biggest superstars the organization has ever produced. With his stone “Iceman” persona, striking Mohawk haircut and terrifying knockout power, Liddell helped UFC’s popularity explode during his reign as UFC light heavyweight champion. Liddell boasts an impressive and legendary 12-year career that is followed by his retirement in 2010 and immediate induction into the UFC Hall of Fame. Liddell was a coach on the original series of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, dominating the competition with his team winning both the light heavyweight and middleweight tournaments.
Coaching opposite Liddell is another UFC icon, Forrest Griffin. No mixed martial artist in the world is as closely associated with The Ultimate Fighter than Griffin, who won the very first season’s light heavyweight tournament under the tutelage of Liddell. More importantly, Griffin’s breathtaking finale victory over Stephan Bonnar in April 2005 is the fight that secured UFC’s status as a rising cultural phenomenon. Griffin won the UFC light heavyweight title in 2008, retired in 2012 and like Chuck, was then inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Both Liddell and Griffin have had a storied history with The Ultimate Fighter. The Iceman continued his journey in the reality series, keeping his perfect coaching record intact as his athlete won the season 11 tournament. Like Liddell, Griffin holds a perfect record as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter; returning to the series in 2008 to not only coach the eventual winner, but also three of the four semi-finalists.
The Ultimate Fighter series follows athletes training and competing against each other for a prized UFC contract, all while living under one roof. The complete list of athletes and respective weight classes will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
The series is set to air August 2016 on UFC Network, Televisa’s Chanel 5 in Mexico, UFC FIGHT PASS® and additional free-to-air networks in Latin America. UFC Network subscribers will also get the chance to catch replays and watch exclusive content on the channel as well as on ufcnetwork.com.
The season finale will be featured during a live event November 5, in Mexico City at Arena Ciudad de Mexico. The card will host the final bouts of the series, crowning the winners of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America season 3. Further event and ticket details will be released at a later date.
“We have come a long way from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter,” said Liddell. “I feel honored to be a part of the Latin American series. We have great fighters competing in the region and I’m excited to get a chance to train them and teach them a few things I learned during my career. Expect a great finale in Mexico City November 5.”
“I’m very excited to be participating in The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3,” added Griffin. “I know how much of a competitor Chuck is so I will be bringing my A game. UFC is still very new in Latin America and for that reason I am thrilled to be a part of this opportunity in helping grow the sport in the region.”
In addition to Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, The Ultimate Fighter has launched the careers of more than 100 UFC athletes and produced additional champions such as Rashad Evans, Matt Serra, TJ Dillashaw as well as season winners including Michael Bisping, Ryan Bader and Nate Diaz. Mexican American Tony Ferguson captured the season 13 lightweight title, while Diego Sanchez, also of Mexican descent, was the first-ever winner of the franchise as a middleweight. Sanchez defeated Kenny Florian, an athlete of Peruvian descent, at The Ultimate Fighter 1 finale in 2005. The Ultimate Fighter Latin America season 2 coaches, Efrain Escudero and Kelvin Gastelum, proved their talents with Escudero winning season 8 of the series and Gastelum defeating the fearsome Uriah Hall in season 17.
In 2014, Mexican featherweight, Yair Rodriguez, and bantamweight competitor, Alejando Perez, were crowned season winners of the first Spanish speaking series of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America. The winners of the second season were Peruvian lightweight fighter Enrique Barzola and Mexican welterweight Erick Montaño.