Usually, in the months before the UFC starts taping a season of "The Ultimate Fighter," the show holds open tryouts. Fighters from all over the country flock to hotel ballrooms to try to win the favor of the UFC execs watching their every move.
As the show heads into its 16th season, there were no tryouts. Instead, the UFC asked managers to bring welterweights to Las Vegas for auditions and personal interviews.
"I've never seen them skip the tryout process and fly guys straight in," one manager told MMAjunkie.com.
This isn't the only change coming to the UFC's long-running reality show. As Kevin Iole reported, the UFC is going back to a taped format after the 15th season aired fights live. FX has also decided to keep the show on Friday nights.
Though ratings are up for FX on Friday nights, the ratings for the show are down compared to previous seasons. Attendance and gate from the show's finale were also down.
TUF is first a television show, and two rules have always remained true about the modern television landscape. First, it's hard to keep any show fresh for 16 seasons. Secondly, Friday nights are where ratings go to die. There is not much the UFC can do to get around those truisms.