This unprecedented season of the The Ultimate Fighter in which rival south florida teams American Top Team and Blazilians brings to light an integral part of professional sports: rivalries. Rivalries pepper the excitement, the true test of human capacity and perseverance that is the sport of mixed martial arts. And it adds depth to the community aspect of it.
In thinking about rivalries in mixed martial arts, one rivalry that comes to mind splits fans of the lighter weights around the world over two camps: Rio de Janeiro’s Nova União and Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male. Current UFC featherweight champion of the world, the Manaus born José Aldo has a tight grip of the division, which he’s successfully defended versus the Sacramento squad’s captain Uriah Faber as well as one of its lieutenants, Chad Mendes. Renan Barão lost his footing and relinquished his bantamweight title belt to a soaring TJ Dillashaw. With both teams bringing on more and more quality fighters to the pro-level with the passing of every season, the rivalry is only going to continue to grow.
This brings to mind the possibility of a season of this new style of The Ultimate Fighter franchise featuring both squads. Head coach of the Brazilian camp Dedé Pederneiras thinks the possibility of it is good, he approves of it, but he’s not going out of his way for it. A friendly reminder that the ATT vs. Blackzilians season sees each squad practicing in their own facilities, eliminating the format in which both sides share the same roof. As such Dedé Pederneiras wonders if they would come to Rio, because he’s not leaving home for it.
He told Combate.com “nothing is concrete. The rivalry exists, if you can even call it that. We had five or six title fights, with them winning one and us the rest. So the rivalry is more on their side. It’s healthy, but you’d have to see how it would work out. Would they come to Brazil to do it? As we can see on this TUF each team stays home, right? If they come here, great, but if I have to travel with my whole team to stay up there filming for two months, I don’t know how this is going to work out. My whole team and I want to stay here. I wouldn’t live over there for two months for a reality show.
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