It's no secret that The Ultimate Fighter ratings have sharply declined over the last several seasons, and hit an all-time low when they experimented with a "live" version of the show. Last week TUF 16 drew their worst season premiere numbers in series history, and this week the ratings were even worse. According to MMA Junkie, TUF put up a paltry 872,000 this past Friday.
This past Friday's second episode of "The Ultimate Fighter 16: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson" drew a total audience size of 872,000 viewers to FX.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the ratings information with industry sources.
The numbers include a 0.8 rating among men aged 18-49 and a 0.70 mark in men aged 18-34.
Ouch. That's not good. There's really no way to spin that into a positive. It's just been a complete disaster since the switch from Spike TV to FX and from Wednesdays to Fridays.
Honestly, these numbers cannot possibly be all about being in the Friday slot. The format has become stale, the fighters are of lesser quality, and it's why they have former UFC fighters like Nissen Osterneck and Jay Silva trying out for a show where pretty much 90% of the cast ends up in the UFC anyway.
TUF is a reality show, and reality shows when they become stale end up going away. There's no reason to keep this as a viable method of finding talent. You know where talent like Sergio Pettis and Bubba Jenkins are going? Resurrection Fighting Alliance, where they'll be fighting on TV and getting paid as they add to their professional record, instead of spending weeks in a house fighting 4-5 times to earn the minimum amount of money to be classified as a "six-figure contract".
It's not 2005 anymore, when the UFC was the only game in town as far as TV contracts. Fighters have Bellator (even as their reputation with fighters dwindles), Titan FC, RFA, World Series Of Fighting, and just about any other organization who has their fights aired on subscription or digital cable channels. Trying to "alleviate" TUF's lack of appeal by suggesting Women's MMA, Griffin vs. Bonnar as coaches, or anything of that nature only prolongs a dying breed. Just because it worked in season 1 and season 2 means it should go on forever because it's a part of the UFC's culture.