The show that launched the careers of MMA greats Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans is coming back for an eleventh season. The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 is set to debut on Spike TV on March 31, 2010, and will feature middleweights with legendary rivals Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Tito “The Huntington Beach Badboy” Ortiz serving as the coaches. The long-standing rivalry between “The Iceman” and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has featured two, historic clashes inside the Octagon, both of which were won by Liddell.
“The world knows that there is no love lost between Tito and Chuck,” UFC President Dana White said. “These two guys will do whatever it takes to beat each other. Whether it’s fighting or checkers, Chuck wants to beat Tito and Tito wants to beat Chuck. On Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, we’ll see which legend can score the upper hand when it comes to coaching the next batch of rising stars.”
A native of Santa Barbara, Calif., Liddell (21-7) served as coach of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in January 2005. Known for his phenomenal striking ability and staunch takedown defense, “The Iceman” earned his way into the UFC Hall of Fame by defeating the likes of Vitor Belfort, Renato Sobral, Randy Couture (twice), and Ortiz (twice). Considered by many as the greatest 205-pound fighter ever, Liddell believes he will score another victory when he coaches opposite Ortiz next year.
“I am excited for the opportunity to coach on The Ultimate Fighter, especially since I get a chance to beat Tito again,” said Liddell, who became a pop culture icon with appearances on hit programs such as Dancing with the Stars and Entourage. “This is a perfect chance for me to help young fighters grow and it’s a chance for me to get another win against Tito.”
The longest-reigning champion in UFC history, Ortiz (16-7-1) once held the light heavyweight title for nearly four years. An outstanding wrestler with vicious ground and pound, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” owns wins over some of the sport’s elite, including Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Wanderlei Silva, as well as three victories over Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock. A coach on season three of The Ultimate Fighter, Ortiz returns to the show holding the firm belief that he will finally knock off his arch nemesis.
“This season of the show is important to me in so many ways,” said Ortiz, who appeared on the hit series The Celebrity Apprentice in 2008. “I love coaching and I’m happy that I can give my fighters a chance to become better athletes. Plus, I think I’m a better coach than Chuck. I think my guys are going to be hungry and ready to smash Chuck’s guys. I can’t wait to see his face when that happens.”