Following a year of delays and uncertainty, the Ultimate Women Challenge reality show competition is finally set to begin filming this week. However, the show’s schedule has impacted multiple planned September fights including bouts featuring Kaitlin Young and Julie “Fireball” Kedzie.
Young had been set to face unbeaten prospect Liz Carmouche at Crowbar MMA: “Fall Brawl” on September 11th, while Kedzie was scheduled to take on another unbeaten rising star, Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio, at Jackson’s MMA Series 2 one week earlier. Both fights have now been cancelled.
Young (4-4-0) and Kedzie (14-8-0) will be among 16 female fighters participating on the show, which is separated into two weight classes. At the end of the season, champions will be crowned at 125 and 135 pounds. The show will use a similar format to the highly-regarded Muay Thai-themed “Fight Girls” reality show from 2007, which featured current MMA stars such as Jennifer “Rosebud” Tate, Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and season winner Kerry Vera, among others. Comparisons have also been drawn to the extremely successful series The Ultimate Fighter, which has been responsible for giving some of the UFC’s top stars their first opportunity with the company.
Fighters will all live and train out of a single house at an undisclosed location, and their backgrounds and preparation for fights will be documented. The winners of each division will be awarded UWC titles. Additional details involving specific aspects of the show are scarce, but the Ultimate Women Challenge will air on NBC affiliates and will serve as the first major television exposure for some of the competitors. All fighters have signed strict non-disclosure clauses in their contracts and are not able to discuss any details of the show, but filming will reportedly begin as early as tomorrow, August 24th.
Young recently quit her job to focus more of her time and effort on fighting, and was preparing diligently for her fight with Carmouche, but the UWC show may be just the opportunity that she needs to get her career back on track. She could not speak on the record about the show, but did say that she hoped that new doors would be opened in the future. For Kedzie, she will hold the most experience of anyone on the show by far and should be considered as an early favourite to advance far in the 135-pound competition. Her fight with D’Alelio may be off, but Kedzie will still face a crop of other rising stars looking to make a name for themselves in the sport.
Note: Airing of the Ultimate Women Challenge (UWC) will be optional for NBC affiliates, rather than mandatory, and the show’s total projected audience is presently unknown as a result.
The full roster for the show, which has undergone numerous changes, is expected to be the following:
125 pounds: Heather Jo “The Hurricane” Clark, Brandi Hainey, Barb “Lil’ Warrior” Honchak, Angela Magana, Michelle “Thundercat” Ould, Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman, Patricia Vidonic (Hall).
135 pounds: Martha Benavides, Angela Hayes, Brighton Hutton, Julie “Fireball” Kedzie, Kristin “Barbie” Molina, Casey Noland, Colleen “The Beautiful Disaster” Schneider, Kaitlin Young.