Tiki Ghosn — journeyman fighter and Rampage Jackson’s “>nut-tapping partner— has confirmed that the former UFC light heavyweight champion will return as a coach for The Ultimate Fighter’s 10th installment this fall.
“I’m doing the next ‘Ultimate Fighter,'” Ghosn said. “I’m going to be the striking coach for Team Rampage.”
The opposing coach will obviously be the winner of the Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida bout on May 23rd. The casting call for season 10 was for middleweights, light heavyweights, and heavyweights, but there is still no word as to whether all three weight classes will be feautured on the show.
Michael Rome over at Bloody Elbow seems a bit disappointed because this means another “long layoff for Jackson, and will leave the UFC scrambling for main events in the fall just because they need to satisfy ratings needs on Spike.” He also mentions that it “doesn’t take a genius to look a few months in advance and see [the UFC] will have no big main events in September and October.”
I know it’s expected of us as “hardcore fans” to over-analyze every single decision the UFC makes ad nauseam, but there are situations where there is no reason to be a Negative Nancy. No matter how you look at it, this is a solid decision. For one, Rampage makes for great TV. In a time where the old stars are dropping like flies, the UFC needs to keep building bankable personalities. Rampage — along with Brock Lesnar, Georges St. Pierre, and Forrest Griffin — is already a big name for the company and another coaching spot on the reality show will only increase his popularity.
As for the argument that pushing Rampage’s next fight off until December will cause booking problems for some upcoming cards, I just don’t see how it has any merit. Assuming everyone stays injury free, the September show could be headlined by whoever comes out of UFC 99 victorious: Rich Franklin vs. Shogun Rua or Wanderlei Silva vs. Dan Henderson II (whether Hendo gets past Bisping or not). Throw Cheick Kongo vs. the winner of the Herring/Velasquez bout on there and you’ve got a solid co-main event. The October card could feature Shane Carwin challenging for the heavyweight title. If Lesnar comes out victorious over Frank Mir, a fight between him and Carwin will draw huge numbers. Then, November could see a lightweight title fight in the main event; likely Penn or Florian against the winner of the Sanchez vs. Guida bout.
And that’s not mentioning the quality television that could be supplied by either Evans or Machida. The thought of Evans teaching his entire team the nipple twist brings a smile to my face. The idea of Machida getting paired up Odd Couple-style with ‘Stankie’ as his team’s boxing coach brings a tear to my eye.
Point is, this is a good decision.