Sproat in ‘TUF’ final 28

Sale Sproat of Molokai has been selected as a finalist for the 17th edition of the reality television series “The Ultimate Fighter,” which will begin on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Sproat is one of 28 mixed martial arts middleweights who will take part in the opening episode, which will be shown on FX at 6 p.m. in Hawaii. Half of that group will make one of two seven-man teams for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 13-week series, which will air at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“I work hard and will do whatever it takes to be the next Ultimate Fighter winner,” Sproat is quoted as saying on theultimatefighter.com.

The team captains are UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, who are to meet on April 27 in UFC 159 in New-ark, N.J.

Sproat is 3-1 as a professional. Three of the other 27 competitors have fewer pro fights – Californians Nicholas Hohring and Frederick Persons, as well as Jimmy Quinlan of Massachusetts, are all 3-0.

Sproat won his last bout, against Shannon Ritch of Arizona, by first-round submission on Dec. 15 in the inaugural Maui Fighting Championships card at the Maui Mall in Kahului.

Sproat, a former amateur champion in the Destiny series, claimed the bull-riding title at last year’s Maka-wao Rodeo.

“The quality of guys we have this season (is) unbelievable,” UFC president Dana White said in a release. “From the fights to get into the house, to every single fight this season, I think the talent is some of the best I’ve ever seen on this show. We’re going to end up with some really good guys in the 185-pound division.”

Maui County has produced a previous winner on ‘TUF’ – Kendall Grove of Wailuku was the champion of the third season, in 2006.

“My hat’s off to him. I just hope the best for him,” Grove said of Sproat on Thursday.

“He’s tough. He’s a bull rider, and you can feel that when he’s rolling with you. He’s the best guy on Molokai. You have to be pushed if you want to get better.”