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Television’s toughest reality series returns for its ninth season as ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ premieres on Virgin 1, Sunday April 5 at 11pm.

Over 1000 of the best undiscovered mixed martial artists from two continents auditioned for the new season, all hoping to make it all the way to the finale, where one welterweight and one lightweight will win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R).



London, England

For immediate release – Television’s toughest reality series returns for its ninth season as ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ premieres on Virgin 1, Sunday April 5 at 11pm.

Over 1000 of the best undiscovered mixed martial artists from two continents auditioned for the new season, all hoping to make it all the way to the finale, where one welterweight and one lightweight will win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R).

This season though, it is country v country as UK star Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping leads a team of British hopefuls against US Olympian and former two-division world MMA champion Dan Henderson’s United States team. The hit show is a 12 x 1 hour reality series with a multi hour finale based around the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, The Ultimate Fighting Championship(R).

Marshall Zelaznik, the President of the UFC’s UK Division, said: “This season will be the most exciting ever with not just a pair of six-figure UFC contracts on the line but also national pride. None of these fighters wants to let his country down and - with so much on the line - the fights themselves are the most spectacular in TUF history.

“I can think of no better mixed martial artist than Bisping to lead the British into battle. Not only is Mike the most successful fighter to emerge from the UK, but as a former TUF champion from season 3, Mike knows exactly what it takes to win this thing.”

Daniela Neumann, Director of Programmes for Virgin1, said: "The Ultimate Fighter is a very strong brand with a very loyal following. UK vs USA is the perfect way to bring the fighting brand to our audience. Of course we know who we are rooting for.”

Season nine of the wildly successful original series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” features 16 lightweights (155lbs, 11stone 1lbs) and 16 welterweights (170lbs, 12stone 2lbs).

In the first two episodes the 32 contestants must fight their way into the Ultimate Fighter House by winning a preliminary bout; only the winners will be flown to Las Vegas to the Ultimate Fighter house to live and train alongside UFC icons Bisping and Henderson.

During the six-week taping of “The Ultimate Fighter: United States Vs. United Kingdom,” the 16 men who survived the prelims endured a gruelling daily regimen of Jiu-jitsu, judo, Muay Thai, karate, boxing and wrestling. The intense competition between the fighters continues after they leave the gym as these modern day gladiators must live together in the same house, knowing that any day they may be called upon to fight each other in the famed UFC Octagon™.

Each victory brings the fighter closer to his dream of a contract with the world’s elite mixed martial arts organisation. The four finalists will square off in a live finale Saturday, June 20, when the two weight class winners will be declared “The Ultimate Fighter”.

The 32 fighters for “The Ultimate Fighter: United States Vs. United Kingdom” are

Fighting to Represent the United Kingdom

- Dean Amasinger
Rough House Gym’s Dean Amasinger (4-1) is a 5’10” grappler from Nottingham, England.

- James Bateman
5’10” striker James Bateman (2-1) trains with Grimsby NHB in Grimsby, England.

- David Faulkner
5’9” ground specialist David Faulkner trains with Wolfslair in Widnes, England. The 28-year-old born in Kirkby holds a 2-1 mixed martial arts record.

- Tommy Maguire
20-year-old Tommy Maguire trains in Wisbech, England with Tsunami Gym. The 5’7” stand-up fighter holds a 5-2 mixed martial arts record, with three wins coming via TKO.

- Che Mills
Born is Gloucester, England, 6’2” welterweight Che Mills (7-2) trains with Mark Weir’s Range Fighting in the UK.

- Nicholas Osipczak
Sporting a perfect 3-0 record, Nicholas Osipczak trains in London, England with Pancrase UK.

- Alex Reid
Alexander Reid trains in London, England with the London Shoot Fighters. The 33-year-old stand up artist is 10-9-1 in his twenty mixed martial arts bouts.

- James Wilks
Born and raised in England, 30-year-old fighter James Wilks has trained with Eric Paulson in Orange County, California since 2000. The 6’1” striker is 5-2 in his mixed martial arts career.

- James Bryan
Lightweight James Bryan (3-1) is a 25-year-old stand up fighter from Somerset, England.

- Dan James
Dan James, 3-0, is a stand up artist fighting out of Swansea, Wales. The 5’10” fighter has won two of his fights by TKO.

- Gary Kelly
Wolfslair fighter Gary Kelly (2-1) is a 25-year-old striker from Liverpool, England.

- Jeff Lawson
5’6 lightweight Jess Lawson (13-2) trains with Team Bulldog out of Dorset, England.

- Ross Pearson
24-year-old striker Ross Pearson (9-3) is a member of Sunderland Jiu-Jitsu & MMA Club in Sunderland, England.

- Martin Stapleton
Born in Manchester, England, 25-year-old Thai boxer Martin Stapleton (5-1) trains with Quannum Combat Arts.

- AJ Wenn
Cambs, England’s AJ Wenn is a well-rounded fighter training out of Tsunami Gym. The 24-year-old has a 7-2 mixed martial arts record.

- Andre Winner
Lightweight Andre Winner (9-2-1) trains out of Rough House in London, England.

Fighting to Represent the United States

- Ryan Biglar
A member of team Cobra Kai in Las Vegas, Biglar is a 24-year-old jiu-jitsu artist originally from Guam.

- Ray Elbe
Born and raised in Arizona, the 25-year-old Elbe (with a record 20-11 in mixed martial arts) has spent parts of the last three years perfecting his Muay Thai skills in Phuket, Thailand.

- Christian Fulgium
Fighting out of the Gladiator camp in Lafayette, Louisiana, Fulgium is a wrestler with a 6-2-1 mixed martial arts record.

- DaMarques Johnson
Johnson, a member of Elite Performance in Salt Lake City, Utah, began training in mixed martial arts in 2001 while serving in the military. He has since amassed a 13-6 mixed martial arts record.

- Kevin Knabjian
Born and raised in Chicago, Knabjian (10-3-1) wrestled at Division 1 Eastern Illinois University and graduated with a degree in Business Management. Knabjian trains out of Gilbert Grappling in Chicago.

- Mark Miller
A 5'10” welterweight Muay Thai artist, Miller (10-4) trains out of Dino Costeas MMA and Toro Muay Thai in Chicago.

- Jason Pierce
A former soccer standout at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Pierce (9-0) trains with Bettendorf's Miletich Fighting Systems camp.

- Kiel Reid
Born and raised in Bettendorf, Iowa, Reid (8-1) returned to the area in 2005 to take up mixed martial arts full-time with the Miletich Fighting Systems camp.

- Paul Bird
A stand-up fighter, Paul Bird (4-1) trains in West Des Moines, Iowa out of the Des Moines MMA camp.

- Santino DeFranco
26-year-old Santino DeFranco trains out of Southwest MMA in Tempe, AZ. A 5'10” jiu-jitsu specialist, DeFranco holds a 13-4 mixed martial arts record.

- Jason Dent
Sumbission specialist Jason Dent owns and operates Griffon Brawl gym in Mentor, Ohio. He holds a combined 19-9 mixed martial arts record with bouts against Roger Huerta at UFC 63 and Gleison Tibau at UFC 68 under his belt.

- Cameron Dollar
A member of Fight Factory in Colorado Springs, CO, Dollar (4-1) has trained with TUF alums Cory Hill and Noah Thomas.

- Tom Hayden
Tom Hayden, 4-0, is a ground specialist who trains out of TUF 2 alum's Jorge Gurgel camp in West Chester, OH.

- Waylon Lowe
Fighting out of Jorge Gurgel's camp in Ohio, the 28-year-old Waylon Lowe owns a 5-2 mixed martial arts record.

- Josh Souder
A well-rounded fighter out of Team Prodigy in Ohio, the 5'7” Josh Souder owns a 7-2 overall mixed martial arts record.

- Richie Whitson
Born and raised in Alaska, the heavy-handed Whitson holds a perfect 4-0 mixed martial arts record. He currently trains out of Temecula, CA with Team Quest.

UFC President Dana White will once again serve as host of the series.

About The Ultimate Fighting Championship
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® is the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts organization and offers the premier series of MMA sports events. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® produces over twelve live pay-per-view events annually that are distributed residentially through various cable and satellite providers including InDemand and DirecTV, and commercially through Joe Hand Promotions. In addition to its U.S. distribution, UFC programming is distributed in over 100 countries and territories throughout the world including on Setanta Sports in the UK and Ireland. For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit or or

Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Ultimate Fighting®, UFC®, The Ultimate Fighter®, Submission®, As Real As It Gets®, Zuffa™, The Octagon™ and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks, trademarks, trade dress or service marks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced herein may be the property of Zuffa, LLC or other respective owners.

About Virgin1
Virgin1 is a vibrant, mainstream, populist multiplatform entertainment channel. The first ever Virgin branded TV channel, Virgin1 is packed with top drama premieres, movies, humour and compelling factual entertainment.

From the biggest and glossiest US shows including Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Chuck, Criminal Minds and The Unit – all US smash-hit returning dramas – and American Inventor with UK entrepreneur Peter Jones. Virgin1 is also the home of the hugely successful Star Trek franchise and the forthcoming critically-acclaimed animated comedy series The Life and Times of Tim.

The channel also has an impressive line-up of home-grown UK shows that include factual entertainment series The Prisoner: X featuring Linford Christie, Jack Osbourne, Joe Pasquale, Will Mellor, Debra Stephenson and author Toby Young; the nail-biting and adrenaline-fuelled Gethin Jones’ Danger Hunters and the controversial Rude, and…& Proud season documentary strands.

Commissions also include the light-hearted observational documentary series on Spanish hospitals in Sun, Sea and A&E; the dramatic and terrifying My Holiday Hostage Hell , Trawlers, Rigs & Rescue, a forthcoming gripping new series that looks at the extraordinary lives of people living and working in The North Sea around the UK, and the hilarious Britain's Worst Learners fronted by Tim Shaw.

Available on Freeview, Virgin Media and digital satellite, Virgin1 delivers a refreshing mix of broad, witty, charming and impressive entertainment for everyone. It is intelligent tabloid TV at its best.