Official Press Release On Rampage, Griffin As TUF Coaches

Salil Gulati sent along the following:

QUINTON “RAMPAGE” JACKSON AND FORREST GRIFFIN TO COACH SEASON 7 OF “THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER”

New York , NY – The landmark reality series The Ultimate Fighter, has launched the UFC careers of some of mixed martial arts' brightest young stars, including Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, Josh Koscheck, Michael Bisping and Joe Stevenson. Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter will feature perhaps its most famous alum, Season 1's champion and top light heavyweight contender Forrest Griffin, as he will come full circle to serve as one of the coaches opposite the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world, the charismatic Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

The two fan favorites will coach 16 of the best up and coming mixed martial artists in the middleweight (185 lbs) division. The two finalists will square off in a live finale, with the winner being declared The Ultimate Fighter and netting a six figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier mixed martial arts organization in the world.

Production on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Griffin Vs. Team Rampage begins in Las Vegas in January and will last 6 weeks, and will premiere this April on Spike TV. The series will once again be hosted by UFC President Dana White.

“With two coaches whose personalities are as strong as their fighting skills, this season of The Ultimate Fighter promises to be the most explosive yet,” said White.

“With Rampage and Forrest at the helm, audiences should expect the unexpected,” said Brian Diamond, Co-Executive Producer and Senior Vice President, Sports & Specials, Spike TV. “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Griffin Vs. Team Rampage will feature new twists and turns that are sure to bring more action and intensity between the fighters and coaches than ever before.”

A native of Memphis , TN now living and training in Southern California , light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. An All-State wrestler in high school, Jackson 's is as adept on the ground as he is on his feet utilizing his world class striking ability. One of the top light heavyweights in Japan 's PRIDE organization for years, Jackson made his UFC debut in February of 2007 and made quick work of Marvin Eastman. The victory earned him a title shot against Chuck Liddell, one of the most dominant champions in UFC history who had won his seven previous fights, including two each against Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. A little over three minutes into the first round of their bout at UFC 71, Jackson made sure Liddell's win streak would not swell to eight, winning the UFC light heavyweight title with a stunning combination of strikes that caused referee Big John McCarthy to stop the fight. Jackson put his newly acquired title on the line against PRIDE champion Dan Henderson at UFC 75 on Spike TV, and won a grueling five round decision to unify the titles and become the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world. Jackson will try and translate his unparalleled success inside the Octagon to the realm of coaching on this season of The Ultimate Fighter.

In 2005, Forrest Griffin was a police officer in Athens , GA. With a degree in political science from the University of Georgia under his belt, Griffin was training in mixed martial arts part time as he tried to figure out the next step in his life. That step turned out to be the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, with Griffin winning the light heavyweight competition of the show by defeating Stephan Bonnar at the finale in a three round war which is hailed as one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history to this day. It provided a springboard for Griffin, who has gone on to fight some of the UFC's best while becoming one of the organization's most popular fighters, most recently notching an impressive win over the heavily favored Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 76.

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. MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc.

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