TUF: Canada vs. Australia coming to Sportsnet

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.(CP/Jeff McIntosh)

Popular mixed martial arts reality series The Ultimate Fighter is finally coming to Canada, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia will air on Sportsnet beginning in 2014.

TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia will feature some of the world’s top welterweight mixed martial arts prospects, who will compete in an elimination tournament with the winner earning a six-figure UFC contract.

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time and finally it’s here,” UFC president Dana White told Sportsnet in the official video announcement. “Finally got it done. Been wanting to do it for a long time, long overdue. Here we go.”

UFC veteran Patrick Cote, of Rimouski, Que., has been named coach of Team Canada.

Cote (19-8) is a TUF alumnus that had been vying for a coaching role if and when a Canadian edition of the show was created; Cote advanced to the finals of TUF 4: The Comeback back in 2006, losing to Travis Lutter in the finale.

The 33-year-old is riding a two-fight win streak in the UFC with victories over Bobby Voelker and Alessio Sakara at Montreal’s UFC 158 and UFC 154, respectively.

Australian fighter Kyle Noke, of Dubbo, New South Wales, will be the coach of Team Australia. Noke (20-6-1) is also a TUF veteran, breaking into the UFC after a strong performance on season 11 of the show. The 33-year-old is coming off a KO win in his welterweight debut over Charlie Brenneman at UFC 152 in Toronto.

The two coaches will meet in a welterweight bout after the series’ conclusion sometime in 2014.

TUF has been around for 17 seasons — filmed in the United States and airing worldwide — since 2005 and has helped start the careers of nearly 200 UFC fighters over the last eight years.

There have been three international editions of the series as well. Two seasons of TUF Brazil and one TUF: The Smashes, which pitted Team United Kingdom against Team Australia. TUF: The Smashes was filmed in Australia in 2012.

Back in April, UFC president Dana White told Sportsnet he believed the first TUF series involving Canada would be filmed in Quebec.

“I think it’s going to be filmed up in Canada; it’s looking like Montreal,” White said.

Broadcast details for TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia will be announced at a later date and the series will debut in 2014.

Tryouts for the show begin in September, with Canada hosting casting opportunities in Toronto. Further details and registration forms will be available as of July 1 through the UFC’s website.

“The Ultimate Fighter is a hugely popular series, and with Canada participating for the first time in this international edition, it will be must-see TV for UFC fans coast to coast,” vice-president of programming for Sportsnet Navaid Mansuri said in a press release.

“In conjunction with our valued, long-term partner in the UFC, we are proud to bring this highly-anticipated series to Canadians and continue our commitment to delivering premium sports content to our viewers.”

Sportsnet has secured multimedia rights to TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia. The deal includes exclusive Canadian English rights for television, online and mobile for the next international edition of the show, which will feature Canada making its first ever appearance in the series.

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