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Yahoo! to Dana White: The Ultimate Fighter Might Suck

If you thought it was just the blogosphere ranting and raving about how mundane and unwatchable the show had become, think again:

"The Ultimate Fighter" show has worked in that role up to this point. But as it starts filming its eighth season in a few weeks, it's fare to wonder if the shows format isn't getting stale. After all, there are only so many ways to frame 16 fighters in a house, watching similar training sessions, sound bites and fights in a gym with no spectators, before it gets stale.

Ratings have slipped the last few seasons, and the April 30 show hit a low point with a 0.91 rating and 1.2 million viewers. Whether the show can ride a few more cycles over the next few years, it's television, and thus, it's guaranteed that it will not last forever.

That's Dave Meltzer talking in a way that's as quietly diplomatic as one can possibly be. And while subdued, it's nonetheless significant. Meltzer isn't sounding the alarm yet, but he's clearly identifying it as a troubling issue, something most writers in the mainstream press have not done given the scant attention paid. The truth is the show is enormously connected to the growth of the sport in the U.S. and beyond. But the well has been sucked dry. New life can be pumped into the show again, but not unless drastic changes are made to the format, meaning and significance.

It was Rich Franklin who said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and yet expecting different results. And that's really apt here, isn't it? When the show was more than moderately different at the beginning of the season, even skeptics were willing to give the show a try. That first two episodes didn't post huge numbers, but that's part of an overall decline of the show. And now that the show is back to doing the same thing over and over again, so is the realization that this isn't as entertaining as it could be.

My vote? Find a way - somehow, anyway - to make it live. There's nothing like live MMA.

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