Glaring Ommissions for UFC’s Latin America Cast for The Ultimate Fighter

VU16-MMA3UFC recently announced the cast for the Latin American version of their reality series The Ultimate Fighter, and anyone who follows the MMA game in Latin America and looks at the roster can see that a lot of talent got overlooked. The coaches, Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum bring a lot of intrigue, as they will be facing off for the UFC World Heavyweight Title at the end of the series, and it is easy to understand Velasquez fielding a ‘Team Mexico’, but the roster choices across the board omit a lot of talent. One apparent rule, is that this is Spanish speaking Latin America, so there are no Brazilians. They have their own show in Brazil, and rightfully so, as they would probably dominate a Latin show. But there are several hot beds of MMA throughout the Latin world that have not received a representative on the show, and that is troubling. The UFC has missed some of the higher skilled fighters in the region. Why would that be? It is hard to believe that the fighters themselves were not active out there, asking the UFC for roster spots. So why leave fighters from Argentina (only 1 representative), Peru and Costa Rica (none) out of the mix? For a few years now, Peru has been the home of an active scene of fighters and several have competed at a high level. Diego Huerto is a veteran fighter who is disciplined and very diverse in his study of MMA. He has won San Shou and wrestling titles on an international level, as well as competed in kickboxing, and he has no quit in him whatsoever when the cage door shuts. Huerto is 11-3-1, according to his Sherdog profile. David Iberico, likewise, has a lot of fights and has competed at a high level, keeping a solid 13-2-1 known record on Sherdog. Trust me, these guys have more fights than the Sherdog records and would have added to the competition level. There are fighters with no records from Colombia and Bolivia, two countries with no real depth to the practice of MMA as of yet. The history of Colombian MMA includes a fighter named Cesar Moreno who showed up for a 155 lb tournament in Costa Rica weighing 137 lbs. He was switched to a prelim fight, where he was smashed by a guy who was 2-4. Hopefully the UFC has done their homework a little better for this upcoming season. Argentina is a hotbed of MMA, with a lot of fights. If 5-1 Guido Cannetti, who is the cast member from Argentina, turns out to represent that fighting nation well, then so be it, but it is hard to believe he is either the most qualified or the most experienced fighter in the land of the Pampas. Perhaps the most glaring omission form the show is the absence of fighters from Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the leader in MMA south of Mexico in Latin America. The tiny country has a strong infrastructure and the martial arts community in the country has dedicated more resources to MMA than Ecuador, Panama, Bolivia and Nicaragua combined to the practice of the sport. Martial Artists such as Ariel Sexton have already appeared in the UFC reality show, and Sexton is not necesarily the best mixed martial artist in the country. Recently, the sport has started having local homegrown shows air on TV, which has greatly added to the main stream popularity of the sport. At Bantamweight, Cesar Rojas is 8-1 in Costa Rica, and he owns a KO punch that leaves opponents stiff. At Featherweight, Alejandro Villalobos is 16-3 according to Sherdog and owns a dominant win over cast member Humberto Brown of Panama. There is enough talent in Costa Rica that the show could be Mexico vs Ticolandia, and I assure you that the level of fighters would be higher. UFC is not picking cast members based on resume and MMA credentials. Hopefully some of these top talents get a chance to showcase their skills on the big show someday soon.

Written by Miguel

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