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Just announced, Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will now coach the 17th season of TUF


In a Tuesday bombshell, The Los Angeles Times broke news that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will serve as coaches on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” then meet in a coaches’ fight on April 27.

UFC president Dana White told the Times’ Lance Pugmuire that Jones’ elbow injury, suffered in his Sept. 22 bout against Vitor Belfort, will require extensive physical therapy, which will put him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.


“This should be a good one,” White told the Times. “Jon has accepted the fight. He knows the fans want to see that fight.”

By putting Jones on “TUF,” White kills two birds with one stone: He keeps the champion busy while hyping what could be the biggest-selling bout of 2013, while also using star power to revive a listing “Ultimate Fighter” franchise. Last Friday’s edition of TUF drew just 624,000 viewers on FX, the lowest rating in the show’s 16-season history.

Jones vs. Sonnen was initially proposed as a replacement main event for UFC 151 on Sept. 1 after Jones’ scheduled challenger, Dan Henderson pulled out less than two weeks before the fight due to a knee injury. Jones declined the bout, then White pulled the plug on the entire fight card, the first event cancelation in Zuffa history.

Last week, though, Jones sent out signals he would be receptive to a bout with Sonnen, tweeting “The more I realize how bad the fans want me to fight Sonnen the more I am beginning to disregard whether he deserves it or not.”

Sonnen responded on Twitter: “You don’t give. I TAKE. Remembah that, Bonesie-boy.”

White indicated to the Times that Sonnen will not fight between now and April 27, meaning his planned Dec. 29 bout with Forrest Griffin appears off.

No venue was announced for the April 27 bout.

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