The next season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring the first co-ed household in the history of the reality show will air on FOX Sports 1, the new national cable channel that will debut on Aug. 17.
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will coach opposite Cat Zingano, who defeated Miesha Tate at this season’s TUF Finale at the Mandalay Bay Event Center on Saturday. Season 18 of TUF will premiere on FOX Sports 1 on September 4.
“Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter just ended and it was the best season we’ve ever done,” UFC president Dana White said in a statement. “Season 18 is going to be historic and groundbreaking with the first-ever women coaches, and men and women training and living together, and we’re excited to be airing it on the best new sports network in the country, FOX Sports 1.”
The prior three seasons of TUF have aired on FX and the current season was the most viewed of any of them. Viewership this season rose 35 percent from the previous season, averaging 1.234 million viewers.
TUF outperformed the NHL on NBC Sports Network between Jan. 22 and April 9 by 359 percent (the primetime hockey games on Tuesdays averaged 269,000 viewers) and 439 percent in the key male 18-49 demographic (631,000 vs. 117,000).
Along with coaching, Rousey and Zingano are expected to face one another in a pay-per-view title fight later this year.
“Having the opportunity to help fighters kick off their careers – especially the women – is an amazing experience,” said Rousey said in a statement. “I’ve had the chance to be a guest on past episodes, and I felt the passion, determination and commitment these fighters bring to the sport. I can’t wait to start coaching this next history-making season on this exciting new network.”