Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen To Coach 'The Ultimate Fighter 17'; Title Fight Set For April 27
Sonnen and Jones will serve as opposing coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter 17" on FX in 2013, eventually meeting on April 27 in a light heavyweight title bout.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the news on Tuesday, and Zuffa officials later confirmed the coaches and dates.
As a result of the seemingly impromptu announcement, Sonnen has been pulled from his originally-scheduled clash with former champ Forrest Griffin at December's UFC 155.
Filming for TUF 17 is set to begin on October 29 and spans 12 weeks, though will begin airing in January. The forthcoming edition is expected to feature middleweights and light heavyweights.
Sonnen was targeted by UFC officials as a late replacement for an injured Dan Henderson who was scheduled to face Jones in the main event of last month's UFC 151. While Sonnen accepted the title shot, Jones declined to fight the former middleweight title contender on eight days notice. Zuffa later cancelled the September event entirely.
Jones eventually went on to successfully defend his title against Vitor Belfort via fourth-round submission three weeks later at UFC 152. Meanwhile, Sonnen continued to take shots at the champ via Twitter.
"You don't GIVE. I TAKE. Remembah that, Bonesie-Boy," Sonnen prodded.
While "Bones" initially appeared reluctant to agree to defend his title against Sonnen, the reigning champ recently seemed to change his tune.
"The more I realize how bad the fans want to see me fight Sonnen the more I am beginning to disregard whether he deserves it or not," Jones recently tweeted. "A part of me wants to do it for the fans. The other part of me feels as if it delegitimizes the importance of (the) championship."