Making the case for TUF 13 coaches

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
6:03
AM ET
Rossen By Jake Rossen
ESPN.com
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Urijah FaberSherdog.com Urijah Faber already is a recognized star, but his newly minted UFC division deserves more exposure.

There's no better direct-delivery system to popularize fighters (or fights) than coaching slots on Spike's 5-year-old "Ultimate Fighter" franchise. With 12 hours and three months of basic-cable promotion, it beats HBO's "24/7" series in volume alone.

With a January start fast approaching, UFC's Dana White told gathered media over the weekend that Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva and Urijah Faber-Miguel Torres were under consideration for the slots. From a television producer's point of view, you want Sonnen. He guarantees good footage, clips and manufactured melodrama. Silva is a good man doing the slow burn in the background. It'd work.

Sonnen, who just got through a disclosure process for medically-approved testosterone, is still over the burner.

Even if Sonnen were spotless, there would be a stronger case to be made for Faber and Torres getting a promotional engine behind them for the UFC's introduction of lighter-weight classes. There is still a vast audience in MMA that hasn't sampled the WEC's product and has little conception of the appeal of those divisions. Faber is already a celebrity and both fighters have personalities, and recruiting bantamweights and featherweights would help get fans invested. Sonnen has many problems, but a lack of self-promotion isn't one of them. Haven't the WEC guys waited long enough for exposure?

Jake Rossen is a contributor to ESPN.com. His byline has appeared in the New York Times, Wired.com, and numerous other outlets. He began covering mixed martial arts in 1998.

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