Despite TUF1 being the platform that launched the sport into the mainstream and TUF5 being the series that brought the lightweight division back into the consciousness of the masses. The UFC has opted to give TUF 13 to the Welterweights and to be coached by two of the biggest bodies in the sport in Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos.
Now I get the positives: Cain Velasquez is out till late summer, JDS needs a fight before then, it wouldn’t be right for his fight to not be for at least an interim title, No other HW stands out as a clear contender. So seeing as how Brock Lesnar is coming off a loss but at least a loss to the Champ, that fight does make sense. Add to this the fact that Lesnar is the biggest draw in the sport and the only way in hell you’d get him to leave his cabin and family for 6 weeks of hell in Vegas with cameras following him is by dangling the title on a stick.
Yes, TUF13 makes sense in so far as the coaches line up for a significant contenders match (let’s call it what it is). However, neither coach is really coaching or TV material. JDS’s English is far from fantastic and the only real draw to the show is to see whether or not Lesnar explodes and F5’s a petulant protogeé.
So the coaches probably aren’t going to be compelling, so what? The real crime here is the Bantam and Featherweight classes being completely overlooked. With existing stars Urijah Faber, Dominic Cruz, Jose Aldo, et al finally in the big show and ready (and required) to bask in the limelight: it’s a crime that the already shinning Heavyweight division should get the nod ahead of the new boys.
Whether a pair of new class coaches or a new crop of talent, the little guys badly need some love in the media department. Most casual fans a few months from now are probably going to watch the likes of Aldo and Cruz and think: ‘wow, when did these guys show up?’ And if The Ultimate Fighter would have stuck to its original brief, they’d know.