History will be made on The Ultimate Fighter this year, as the long-running reality TV show will prominently feature female fighters for the first time since 2005.
Of course, Season 18 will see UFC women's champion Ronda Rousey as the first-ever female coach. But the cast of competitors in the show will also have a co-ed house of men and women in the bantamweight division—another notable "first" for the series.
Former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate, who is gunning for a coaching spot, expects hijinks on the show, telling The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting) that the sexual tension could make things hilarious.
In fact, Tate teased the idea it would be pretty funny if all the female competitors were lesbians, leaving the men on the show to "hope" that they could be "the first guys" to have sexual intercourse with their housemates:
Having women on the show certainly makes for an interesting dynamic, especially with the recent changes that the UFC and Fox have made to the show since it moved to the FX channel.
My first question was "coaching guys or girls?" and [Dana White
] said "both." He said "It's going to be crazy." I said "you better have mandatory birth control and lots of condoms available, 'cause it's going to get crazy, and getting knocked up isn't very good for your career." And he said "yeah I know, [it's] worse than getting knocked out."
I'm excited for it, I think it's going to be wild. I think it's going to be Real World meets TUF, and I don't know, I have this idea or joke actually that all the girls are going to be lesbians or hooking up with all the girls, and all the boys are going on there with hope they're thinking we'll be the first guys and this is going to be awesome.
For one, Season 17 seemed to drastically cut down on the amount of alcohol available in the house, with production values on the show geared more toward interpersonal relationships between the fighters, their teammates and their families.
Not only is cable TV and Internet access not allowed for the show's fighters during six weeks of filming, but the TUF competitors are also not permitted to go anywhere without the UFC's permission.
Aside from having little to no contact with the outside world during a harsh MMA tournament, that kind of monotony is frequently cited by fighters as the worst of the show—but that could significantly change with Season 18's dual-gender dynamic.
Still, Miesha Tate won't officially be part of the show until she defeats fellow bantamweight Cat Zigano at the upcoming TUF 17 finale on April 13 in Las Vegas.
Her bout with Zingano—a notable, undefeated 7-0 submission specialist—will be the UFC's second-ever female fight in the company's history, with the winner promised a title shot against Rousey at a future UFC event, in addition to the TUF coaching position.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVision, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania & The L.A. Times.