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'Crazy' season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' set to kick off Wednesday

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained Ronda Rousey faces off with rival Miesha Tate on reality series airing on Fox Sports 1.

September 03, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Expectations are for a crazy season of "The Ultimate Fighter," as Glendale-trainer Ronda Rousey, left, goes up against rival Miesha Tate again.
Expectations are for a crazy season of "The Ultimate… (Courtesy of Stuart…)

There is no love lost between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, and that will play out on the center stage of reality television every Wednesday night in the coming weeks.

Already a trailblazer in the world of women’s mixed martial arts — and women’s sports as a whole, for that matter — Rousey, the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion, and arch nemesis Tate will headline “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” which premieres Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

With Rousey and Tate serving as the long-running show’s first-ever female coaches, the series will also feature another first in that it will showcase female fighters, along with male fighters fighting in separate 135-pound tournaments. But leading up to the airing, there has been much ado about the Rousey-Tate feud, producing fireworks aplenty during the tapings — which concluded the first week of July.

“Wait ’til you see the season,” UFC President Dana White said July 30 at the UFC’s World Tour press conference in Los Angeles. “It’s nonstop, it’s never-ending, it’s crazy.”

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While those involved in the show are bound to secrecy, one spoiler alert for the first episode has long been public, as Rousey was stunned to find out she would be coaching against Tate rather than Cat Zingano. Zingano defeated Tate to earn a title shot against Rousey in December and a spot coaching against her on the show. However, Zingano suffered a knee injury just before taping began and Tate replaced her. Thus, the histrionics began from the moment filming started, as Rousey and Tate have been rivals for more than a year dating back to their time in Strikeforce when the two eventually clashed with Rousey wrestling away the company’s 135-pound strap.

“It was challenging in a lot of ways,” Tate said in July. “Obviously, Ronda Rousey and I, we’re not the best of friends. Dealing with each other every single day was challenging in itself for both her and I. But we did it and made the best of it. I think it’s gonna be one helluva season.”

As aforementioned, details aren’t readily available, but nobody involved seems shy about conveying how badly the rivalry between the fighters and their camps boiled while cameras were rolling.

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