Season 17 cast of 'The Ultimate Fighter' draws from around the globe

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TORONTO - Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show features competitors from the Gold Coast to Guam.

The 13-week series starts Jan. 22 with 28 middleweights taking part in bouts to determine the final 14 cast members. The taped show keeps the mixed martial arts fighters locked up in a Las Vegas mansion for six weeks, denied access to the outside world other than to train and fight.

The last man standing earns a contract to fight in the UFC.

The series, which is moving to Tuesday nights this season, culminates in a live finale from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The coaches this season are light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones and outspoken challenger Chael Sonnen, who will face off after the series on April 27 at UFC 159 in Newark, N.J.

Neither coach opted for humility in Wednesday's announcement of the cast when addressing their decision to appear on the show.

"I thought it would be a good way to share myself with the sport of MMA," Jones said in a statement. "I embrace the role."

Said Sonnen: "The hottest show on FX is being graced with the greatest talent God ever made: Chael P. Sonnen."

The two coaches came close to fighting last fall at UFC 151 when Jones' original opponent, Dan Henderson, withdrew through injury. Sonnen (28-12-1) offered to move up to light-heavyweight from middleweight but Jones (17-1) declined, citing the lack of time to prepare. The card was eventually cancelled and Jones went on to beat Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto in November.

Producers said the TUF 17 cast was whittled down from more than 250 middleweight applicants.

"I think the talent is some of the best I've ever seen on this show," UFC president Dana White said in a release. "We're going to end up with some really good guys in the 185-pound division."

The fighters come from Australia, England, Jamaica, South Africa, Sweden and the U.S.

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The competitors (with record, age and home town)

Dylan Andrews (16-4-1), 32, Gold Coast, Australia, originally from New Zealand

Hito Andrews (9-2), 34, Sacramento, Calif.

Luke Barnatt (5-0), 24, Cambridge, England

Leo Bercier (7-2), 31, Great Falls, Montana

Ryan Lee Q. Bigler (9-3), 28, Guam

Kevin Casey (5-2), 31, Hawthorne, Calif.

Adam Cella (4-0), 27, Fenton, Mo.

Zach Cummings (15-3), 28, Kansas City, Mo.

Andy Enz, (6-1), 21, Anchorage, Alaska

Nik Fehete (5-1), 32, Las Vegas, Nev.

Kelvin Gastelum (5-0), 20, Yuma, Ariz.

Uriah Hall (7-2), 28, New York City, N.Y., and Jamaica

Collin Hart (4-1-1), 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Clint Hester (7-3), 24, Atlanta, Ga.

Jake Heun (3-2), 25, Salt Lake City, Utah

Nicholas Hohring (3-0), 22, Valley Springs, Calif.

Mike Jaspar (6-0), 29, Camarillo, Calif.

Bubba McDaniel (20-6), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.

Frasier Opie (10-5), 25, Milton Keynes, England, and South Africa

Frederick Persons (3-0), 28, Stockton, Calif.

Jimmy Quinlan (3-0), 26, Metheun, Mass.

Scott Rosa (4-1), 27, Sparks, Nev.

Josh Samman (9-2), 24, Tallahassee, Fla.

Gilbert Smith (5-1), 30, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Eldon Sproat (3-1), 27, Molohai, Hawaii

Tor Troeng (15-4-1), 29, Umea, Sweden

Eric Wahlin (5-1), 29, Taylorsville, Utah

Timothy Williams (7-1), 26, Millville, N.J.

Organizations: UFC 152

Geographic location: TORONTO, Gold Coast, Las Vegas Guam Australia England Jamaica South Africa Sweden U.S. Sacramento, Calif. Cambridge Hawthorne, Calif. Fenton, Mo. Kansas City Las Vegas, Nev. Yuma, Ariz. New York City Santa Rosa, Calif. Atlanta, Ga. Calif Camarillo, Calif. Milton Keynes Stockton, Calif. Sparks, Nev. Tallahassee, Fla. Colorado Springs, Colo. Umea Millville, N.J.

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