By Richard Hunter, UFC Blogger for 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – For the UFC, “The Ultimate Fighter” reality television franchise has meant everything to the success of the promotion.

When future hall of famers Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar battled other on the first season’s live televised finale in 2005, the financial fate of the operation hung in the balance.  That night produced what company president Dana White called “the most important fight in UFC history”, and along with it the promotion’s television cornerstone franchise that continues nine years later.

Tonight, the latest season of the reality drama premieres immediately following UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou.

This season will feature an international twist, with a team of Canadian fighters coached by Canadian UFC veteran fighter Patrick Cote taking on an Australian team led by former Ultimate Fighter contestant Kyle Noke.

Patrick Cote is a 10 year UFC veteran, and his path to stardom has never been easy.  Debuting in the promotion a decade ago by taking a fight on short notice against hall of famer Tito Ortiz, Cote endured a trial by fire entry onto the biggest of all mixed martial arts stages and quickly became accustomed to such pressure.  He himself was an Ultimate Fighter cast member on season 4 (titled “The Comeback” season) and was eventually cut from the promotion in 2010 after three consecutive losses.  He returned to The UFC in 2012, where he is currently on a two fight win streak after a recent drop in weight class from middleweight (185) to welterweight (170).

Listen to Richard Hunter talk to Patrick Cote about his two tenures in The UFC, as well as his experience coaching on “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada Vs. Australia”

Cote will be opposed by fellow UFC fighter Kyle Noke, himself a top pick of Chuck Liddell on The Ultimate Fighter in 2010.  Noke will lead a team of fighters hailing from his native Australia, where he worked as a bodyguard for the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin before turning his attention towards a professional mixed martial arts career.

At the conclusion of the season, Cote and Noke will fight each other in April as part of the live televised season finale.

Follow Richard Hunter on Twitter @RichardHunter

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