Several fighters and managers have contacted notifying us that they received communication from UFC and Spike TV officials regarding requirements for the upcoming ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Previous plans called for fighters to apply at middleweight (185 pounds) and welterweight (170 pounds) but show organizers indicate that UFC President Dana White wants to feature lightweight (155 pounds) fighters in place of middleweights. Welterweight is still slated to be the other weight class featured on the show.

Other changes for the tryout requirements include fighters with fewer than three professional fights being discouraged from trying out. A manager also showed us an e-mail in which he was told, “Don’t even bother sending anyone to the tryouts unless they have a pro record.”

TUF 9, which will feature a team of United States-based fighters taking on a team of fighters from the United Kingdom, is expected to begin taping during the first quarter of 2009. Tryouts were held last week in England and will be held later this week in Chicago.

Coaches for the show have yet to be finalized but Michael Bisping is expected to lead the team of British fighters against an American middleweight. It is expected that Bisping will fight the opposing coach during a pay-per-view event that will be held soon after the show has finished airing. Thus far, speculation has centered around the winner of a UFC 93 bout in January between Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson getting the nod as Bisping’s opposition.