The Ultimate Fighter: Team Benavidez vs. Team Cejudo premiered last night on Fox Sports 1, with this season’s theme centered around flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Sixteen flyweight champions from regional promotions all around the world are vying (...or vied, since taping is done) for a title shot against Mighty Mouse on the December 10th season finale card in Las Vegas. While TUF 20 sought to form the strawweight division, with the winner crowned the division’s inaugural champion, this is the first time since TUF 4 that a shot against the champ would be granted.
It’s not secret that Demetrious Johnson has struggled to gain traction as a major draw with a big fanbase, so would the intrigue of going outside the UFC to find the #1 P4P fighter a new challenger have any affect on TUF’s declining ratings? Technically speaking, yes ... the ratings got worse.
SportsTVRatings reports an overnight number just just 370,000 for the 1st episode of TUF 24. It is the lowest rating for a TUF season premiere in the show’s history. The previous low was 479,000 for TUF 23: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia. It should be noted that this does not include +3 DVR numbers, which bumped the TUF 23 premiere numbers up to 705,000.
It’s early days but this is anything but a good sign for the UFC’s long-running reality TV competition.