The New York Times covers the story in their football section:
This fall, a number of former pro football players are trying to follow in (Lesnar's) footsteps. As part of the cast of Spike TV's reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, Marcus Jones, Matt Mitrione, Brendan Schaub and Wes Shivers will compete for a chance to fight in the U.F.C.
Mitrione, 31, said that intensity is part of what attracted him to the sport. A former Shotokan karate practitioner, he stopped training in martial arts in high school after he found success in football.
While the former N.F.L. players may not have made it in football, they are all explosive athletes, according to Rashad Evans, one of the coaches on the show, especially compared with the average heavyweight in mixed martial arts. And Lesnar's success, Evans said, has proved that power and athleticism can go a long way.
Yet technique is still vital in mixed martial arts, and unlike Lesnar, who was an N.C.A.A. wrestling champion, the former N.F.L. players are largely green. They may initially struggle because of their raw and and rudimentary skills.
The combination of cast members of this season's TUF is more intriguing and promising than any since the talent stacked TUF 5 that the UFC used to beef up their relaunched lightweight division in 2007. That season brought us Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon, Matt Wiman, Cole Miller, Manny Gamburyan, and Rob Emerson.
The UFC has clearly made a serious commitment to beefing up their heavyweight class. Now that it's their money division, they need the depth and they need a stream of credible contenders to face champ and superstar Brock Lesnar.
I'm very curious to see how these four NFL caliber athletes fare against the more experienced MMA fighters like Wes Sims and Roy Nelson and of course, Kimbo Slice.
The combination of the very stacked TUF cast and the spate of heavyweight acquisitions that are going straight into the big show -- Ben Rothwell, Chase Gormley, Chris Tuchscherer, Mike Russow, Todd Duffee -- really show a commitment to beefing up the heavyweight division in a big way. I can't wait to see the fruits of these investments in the cage.