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The Ultimate Fighter 3 was the third season of the mixed martial arts reality television
series The Ultimate Fighter. It premiered on April 6, 2006, immediately after the conclusion
of Ultimate Fight Night 4. The season featured sixteen fighters (eight light heavyweights and
eight middleweights) with still-feuding former champion Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock as coaches.
The finale aired on June 24, 2006 and tied the UFC's all-time record with a 2.0 overall rating.
There were several rule changes from the previous Ultimate Fighter seasons. There were to be no
team challenges. All fighters would have to win a preliminary match before advancing to the semi-finals?
which in practice started the single-elimination tournament at the beginning of the series instead of near
the end. The first preliminary match was set by the team who won a coin toss. All subsequent first-round
match-ups were set by the team that won the previous match. Each fight was set for two rounds instead of
the normal three. If there was a draw after two rounds, the match would go to a final, five-minute
tiebreaker round. In such a case, the judges' final decision on the match would be based solely on the third
round (unless the fight was stopped by the referee before the end of the round). Coaches were allowed to
bring two other assistant coaches to assist with training, whereas in previous seasons, assistant trainers
hired by the UFC worked for both camps.
This series of The Ultimate Fighter was also the first in which fighters who reside outside of North
America had participated (Michael Bisping, Clitheroe, England; Ross Pointon, Stoke-on-Trent, England).
As a part of their agreement to work as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 3, Shamrock and Ortiz had a
rematch of their UFC 40 fight at UFC 61, which Ortiz won.