The Ultimate Fighter reality series premiered on Spike TV on Jan. 18, 2005, featuring 16 aspiring fighters competing for two Ultimate Fighting Championship contracts. Largely responsible for mixed martial arts' meteoric rise from grassroots beginnings to a mainstream audience, the popular reality show has featured and made some of the sports' biggest stars.
The show's success has other promotions thinking of their own version of reality television, including the UFC's sister promotion World Extreme Cagefighting.
"From the beginning it (a reality show) was something always in our plans," said WEC vice president Peter Dropick. "Versus, we're in discussions with Versus. We're looking right now at trying to figure out what we're going to do exactly.
"We've got a lot of ideas," he added. "We want to find ways similar to the UFC to showcase our fighters on a more consistent basis."
While still in the planning stages, expect to see a WEC reality show on Versus in 2009. "I don't know if we'll do exactly what the UFC did with The Ultimate Fighter, but we do have plans for a reality show of some nature," said Dropick. "Possibly soon and launching in 2009."
Scott Adams and Reed Harris founded the WEC in 2001. Zuffa, UFC's parent company, purchased the California-based promotion in December 2006 and relocated it to Las Vegas. Live WEC events began airing on Versus in June 2007.