Spike TV and the UFC Turn to Some Real Heavy Hitters for Season Eight of 'The Ultimate Fighter(R)'
Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira And Former
Heavyweight King Frank Mir To Star In New Season Beginning September 17
NEW YORK, May 13 -- The coaches for season eight of Spike
TV's "The Ultimate Fighter," the most successful original series in network
history, will feature two of the UFC's all-time top heavyweights. Interim
UFC heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and former UFC
heavyweight champion Frank Mir, will star in the new season featuring light
heavyweights (205 lbs) and lightweights (155 lbs) premiering Wednesday,
September 17 at 10:00pm ET/PT. Nogueira and Mir will square off in the
Octagon(TM) for a to-be-announced UFC pay per view event. UFC President
Dana White will once again serve as the show's host.
The Brazilian native Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1), known as
"Minotauro" (a Greek mythological creature), is one of the sport's most
successful heavyweights. Nogueira's incredible career almost never happened
as he was involved in a life-threatening accident at age ten when he was
run over by a truck in his native Brazil. Fortunately, he survived and
avoided permanent damage, thus his mixed martial arts pursuits were not
He began his professional career in MMA in the United States in June of
1999 with the World Extreme Fighting organization. However, Nogueira truly
made a name for himself in the sport when he joined the RINGS organization
in Japan and posted an 8-1-1 record from 1999-2000, losing only to Dan
Nogueira's leap to MMA stardom came when he joined PRIDE in Japan and,
from 2001-2003, proceeded to defeat the biggest names in the division
including Bob Sapp, Mark Coleman, Heath Herring, Enson Inoue, Sanae Kikuta,
Semmy Schilt, and avenged his earlier loss to Henderson. A tough loss to
Fedor Emelianenko in March 2003 stopped his impressive winning streak, but
"Minotauro's" career rebounded with a close decision win over former UFC
heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez in August 2003.
The defining match in his career in PRIDE came in November 2003 with a
memorable victory over Croatian Mirko Cro Cop via submission to gain the
PRIDE heavyweight belt. "Minotauro" would go 8-2 with one no contest in the
final three years of his stay in Japan, including avenging a previous
defeat to another former UFC heavyweight champ, Josh Barnett, with a
decision win in December 2006.
Nogueira made his UFC debut in July 2007 at UFC 77 with a victory over
a familiar nemesis, Herring, whom Nogueira had beaten three times
previously in his career. This past February, "Minotauro" defeated Tim
Sylvia in a stirring comeback via submission in the third round to claim
the interim UFC heavyweight belt. The 31-year-old Nogueira lives in Brazil
but spends time in south Florida training with the renowned MMA
organization, America's Top Team.
Although he's only 28, Frank Mir has endured quite a professional and
personal rollercoaster ride since his UFC debut in November 2001 at UFC 34.
Following a first round loss to Ian Freeman at UFC 38 in July 2002, Mir, a
young, highly touted mixed martial arts star from Las Vegas was at a career
turning point. Mir regained credibility as an emerging star with an
impressive victory over UFC great Tank Abbott in February 2003. That
victory led Mir on a journey to the ultimate prize in mixed martial arts,
the heavyweight title. Mir defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in June 2004 in an
unforgettable arm-breaking submission that UFC fans still discuss to this
In a span of a few months, Mir went from the heights of UFC heavyweight
champion to the lows of nearly dying in a grisly motorcycle accident. The
severe injuries he suffered in the horrific accident led to him being
stripped of his title as he rehabbed his broken leg.
Mir returned to the Octagon almost two years later in February of 2006,
but was stopped by Marcio Cruz in the first round. A subsequent decision
win over Dan Christison put Mir in the win column once again, but a loss to
rising star Brandon Vera put Mir back on the comeback trail. Now, after two
straight victories including a first round submission of Brock Lesner, a
former All-American wrestler at the University of Minnesota and WWE
superstar, Mir is ready for another shot at the title.
The eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" goes into production in
late May. The entire cast will be announced in early September.
Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films and Television, Frank Fertitta III,
Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White of Zuffa, LLC, and Kevin Kay of Spike TV are
the show's executive producers. Brian J. Diamond, senior vice president,
sports & specials, Spike TV is co-executive producer and Christopher
Martello is executive in charge of production for Spike TV.
Spike TV is available in 96.1 million homes and is a division of MTV
Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the
world's leading creators of programming and content across all media
platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is http://www.spike.com .