Sixteen of the best up-and-coming mixed martial artists from around the world will convene in Las Vegas in mid-January in pursuit of one goal -- to be named the "ULTIMATE FIGHTER" and to be given a contract in the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization.
The fifth season of Spike TV's highly successful reality series, The Ultimate Fighter, features lightweights (155lbs) for the first time ever. Former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver and former UFC Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn will serve as coaches. A new twist this season is Penn and Pulver will actually fight each other in the show's live finale. The two fought previously in January, 2002 at UFC 35 where Pulver won by a majority decision in a hard-fought 5-round fight. The new season premieres Thursday, April 5 at 10:00pm ET/PT.
Spike TV will telecast exclusive interviews with Penn and Pulver on Inside The UFC Thursday, December 21 at 12:00 midnight where they will discuss for the first time their thoughts and coaching philosophies for Season 5 and their eventual dual in the Octagon.
During the 6-week Ultimate Fighter competition, the 16 men will endure a grueling regimen of jiu-jitsu, judo, muay thai, karate, boxing and wrestling. The intense competition between the fighters continues after they left the gym -- at The Ultimate Fighter House. These warriors are forced to live with each other, knowing that any day they could be forced to fight each other in the famed UFC Octagon(TM).
In each episode, opponents from each team will be selected to square off in battle, officially weighed in and then, in front of their teammates, coaches, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the two combatants face off in two five-minute rounds.
Over the first 4 seasons, the show has delivered about 2 million viewers each week, often beating the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA football and basketball head-to-head on Thursday nights with Men 18-34.