The UFC has to be happy with the initial ratings for the debut showing of the first Brazilian installment of The Ultimate Fighter with coaches Wanderlie Silva and Vitor Belfort. According to Sherdog, the first episode drew 8 million viewers on Globo TV which is a very impressive 15% ratings bump from their normal programming.
That's an incredibly strong number when you realize that it's almost 8 times as many viewers as TUF is drawing on FX here in the U.S. and Brazil has just over half as many people as the U.S. Things are looking very good for this summer's UFC 147 Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen stadium show in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
There's one fly in the ointment however. Globo TV's rival R7 has apparently leaked the results of the tournament. Brazilian MMA site MMA Space reports and comments (translated by Orcus as are the tweets following):
The R7 Portal, a respectable communication medium owned by Rede Record, the second biggest TV network in Brazil, has shot themselves in the foot.
Many specialized MMA websites, and in addition, to the fans who anxiously waited for the results of the show that happens every Sunday on Globo, which debuted yesterday, March 25th were disgusted by a written piece titled "R7 anticipates the four finalists in the new MMA reality TV program from Globo; find out who the winners are."
MMA Space respects R7 and their articles, however, we believe that this attitude was very unfortunate, hurting thousands of their readers that will watch the reality show of their competitor, us included, who now have knowledge of the quarterfinal matches. It's like waiting in line for a movie and someone mentions that "the good guy dies in the end."
The UFC has dealt with this before in the U.S. but on a much smaller scale.
Nova Uniao coach Andre Pederneiras, who has a couple of fighters competing on the show, tweeted:
Notice to all MMA athletes from Nova Uniao, any interview with R7 and Rede Record are suspended due to recent reports
The names are wrong.
Time will tell if R7's report is accurate or not but it's interesting to see how the massive mainstream popularity the UFC is suddenly enjoying in Brazil is coming at a cost in the form of irresponsible major media scrutiny. Esportes R7 is a major news outlet in Brazil. This isn't going to be like feuding with Sherdog.
NOTE: We are working to keep Bloody Elbow spoiler free so be warned anyone posting the leak or links to the leak will be banned.