Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen Were Both Close to Being Contestants on Past Seasons of the Ultimate Fighter

It’s hard to pick and choose what to believe when it comes to The Ultimate Fighter 17 coach Chael Sonnen, but he recently said he was once offered a chance to be a fighter on TUF 1 and turned it down.  Opposing coach Jon Jones also explained he made it to the grappling round at tryouts for a different season of TUF but was cut when UFC officials found out he was only 20 years old (he needed to be 21).

Both Sonnen/Jones offered up some detail on their past run-ins with the reality show including the reasons things didn’t work out…

Chael Sonnen:

“When the show very first started, the first coaches ever were my coach, friend, teammate Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, arguably the greatest light heavyweight ever. In fact, the argument would be between those two: Chuck and Randy. I was just a fan. I watched it as a fan. They asked me to be on the show as an athlete, and I passed on the chance. It was on a different network at that time, but an executive at that office invited me on as an athlete. Then I loved the show. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what it was. I sat down and watched it, and I regretted that decision. I really enjoyed watching it, and all these years later, here I am.”

Jon Jones:

“I tried out for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ back when I was 20 years old. I remember making it through the first round and then approaching a table to grapple for the second round and having Dana – I think himself, I remember him being at the table – saying, ‘Man, you’re too young. You’re 20 years old, and you have to be 21 to apply for this show, but we’re going to let you roll anyways. But you can’t go much further than this.’ I was like, ‘Alright.’ I was rolling and  having a great time, and that was it. That was the end of the scenario.”

“It’s kind of surreal to me to know that just four-and-a-half years ago I was trying out for the show, and then to be on the show as such a young coach is just like, ‘Man, we’re doing things right. I said that to my manager. I said, ‘We’re doing it. We’re doing things right.’ It’s just surreal to be a guy who was rejected from the show and now be the coach.”