The UFC has swapped a head coach due to injury for just the second time in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. The 18th season, premiering in the fall on Fox Sports One, was scheduled to pit womens bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey against #1 contender Cat Zingano after Zingano beat Miesha Tate last month. However, when filming began on Tuesday, Tate was there and Zingano wasn't.

What happened was that Zingano blew her knee out while training (and later tweeted a picture of her recovery in the hospital after surgery), and that the UFC immediately reached out to Tate to replace her. Tate and Rousey have a history of verbal sparring, and they have a history in the cage too after Rousey armbarred Tate in the first round of their fight last March to win the Strikeforce womens bantamweight title.

The situation the UFC is in now with Tate opposite Rousey as coach is one that arguably more favorable towards them. Instead of needing to build a rivalry between Zingano and Rousey during filming, they've got one already set up with Tate and Rousey. I'd expect this to help the ratings of the show when it debuts, and it'll probably have a good effect on the overall pay-per-view numbers for the title fight between the two as well.

The Ultimate Fighter has been on shaky legs in recent years, but the women coaching the show (along with female contestants) is a nice way to switch things up too. Because of the relatively shallow pool of women fighters in the UFC as well, there's the added bonus that whichever contestant ends up winning the show might just be a fight or two away from fighting Rousey or Tate for the title, which would be a wrinkle that we really haven't seen on the show before. While it may seem like a Hail Mary, it's a nice step in the evolution of the show, because the same format just wasn't working this far into the show's run.

[Fox Sports]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.