This season reverted back to the taped format, after The Ultimate Fighter: Live‘s 12 week live format. The previous season saw the show be revamped. Prior seasons of the show were filmed in six weeks, edited and aired several months after filming was completed, whereas The Ultimate Fighter: Live was being filmed over thirteen weeks, featuring live fights. This season returned the old taped format, but stayed on Friday nights
Abandoning the usual open tryouts for the show, the UFC and FX interviewed candidates directly, with many interviewees being former-tryout participants. On July 12, 2012, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin were announced as the coaches for the season.