The Ultimate Fighter's ratings drop slightly despite top knockout
Tuesday night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter reality show delivered a 0.92 rating and 1,191,000 viewers, a six percent drop from the prior week.
The season remains the highest rated of the three seasons on FX, but with the move to Tuesday and higher profile coaches in Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, that should have been the case. It’s slightly behind the pace of the lowest rated seasons on Spike.
The most significant sports competition was a college basketball game on ESPN that did 2.42 million viewers. The show improved slightly on its movie lead-in that did 1.09 million viewers.
Ratings are still higher than usual, but the traditonal decline from the start of the season has begun. It's nothing bad to write home about. It's going to happen regardless. And to be honest, I think this mark is where this season is going to hover for the remainder of it.
Ratings report: UFC sets FX viewership record with UFC 156 prelims
Saturday’s UFC 156 prelims drew 1,897,000 viewers, topping the previous UFC on FX record of 1,860,000 viewers set two weeks earlier for the Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping card from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The number was a huge increase from the prelims on FX on Jan. 26 before the FOX network special from Chicago’s United Center which did 1,208,000 viewers.
The largest previous audience on FX for prelims before a big show came on July 7 when the UFC 148 prelims did 1.8 million viewers. But that was to be expected, since there was more interest in UFC on that day with the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen middleweight title rematch than any day over the past two years.
So a new level for ratings was set with Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau as the featured fight. Was this reason? No. For the first time since UFC 154, the UFC's marketing team was going balls to the wall.
I'm not sure how much of the prelims crowd transitioned over to the PPV as those numbers are weird sometimes, but I'm willing to bet it made somewhat of a difference. PPV buys from the Super Bowl weekend shows are traditionally strong regardless.
Dana White has said that the UFC marketing machine will be going all out for Ronday Rousey's debut and I'm excited to see what they can do. The promo they released over the weekend is a good start.
In recent years, those numbers have waned as the ballooning size of the UFC roster has made it more difficult for the promotion to offer such opportunities. But according to UFC president Dana White, this season’s fights are so good and so competitive, he couldn’t bring himself to cut a single competitor. Not one. When the season finishes airing on FX, each man will get at least one more chance to compete in the UFC.
“This season is so f———good, and I was so happy with the guys, I told them, every one of you guys are going to fight. You’re going to get one more chance in the UFC,” White said. “Every guy here is going to get one more chance in the UFC. [Matchmaker] Joe Silva wants to f———kill me. ‘It’s impossible. It mathematically doesn’t work.’ I said, ‘Mathematically make it work.’”
White said whatever the UFC would have to do to make it happen, they would do, including adding one extra fight on each card until each contestant gets his opportunity. So while that make take away some of the drama of the show, at least it’s one sign that the finished product is indeed better than last season’s version.
I can't remember the last season in which every contestant, win or lose, was offered the chance to fight in the UFC, whether it be the finale or a regular event. If I had to guess, the last time may have been "TUF 8" with Frank Mir and Big Nog as coaches.
Either way, it just goes to show how much the show has improved overall in recent years. From the format to the filming to the scouting of the talent themselves, this season has been a success thus far and for good reason.
The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen opened to the series’ strongest ratings ever since making the move to FX last January.
The third season on FX opened to 1.51 million viewers.
We’re only two episodes into the TUF 17 season, but the early returns are good. The second week of the series held strong at 1.3 million viewers in the follow-up to last week’s two-hour season premier.
The ratings are an obvious improvement over the past few seasons already but it remains to be seen what exactly the jump in ratings can be attributed to. Is it the star power of coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, or is it the style of filming that is drawing in viewers?
Couture signs Spike deal, joins Bellator reality series
SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.
As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.
Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.
The article also states that the deal was done, "much to the disapproval" of UFC president Dana White.
As if the budding war between the UFC and Bellator needed any more fuel to the fire after White's suggestion that fighters not sign with Bellator due to ther contract stipulation this past weekend. Things are about to get interesting to say the least.
The preliminary ratings for UFC on Fox 6 have been returned, and according to a report from TVByTheNumbers.com, the show headlined by flyweights Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson actually pulled in the third highest viewership yet for a UFC on Fox card.
Nearly 3.78 million viewers (3.7766 to be exact) on average watched the two-hour long broadcast that featured Johnson vs. Dodson in the main event, as well as the farewell fight for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as he lost to Glover Teixeira in what should likely be his last trip to the Octagon.
The ratings signify a 13-percent increase from the numbers returned for the UFC on Fox 5 card in December.
Now that the UFC has dedicated themselves to putting together fun and exciting cards with some value for the FOX shows, the ratings are starting to steadily improve.
I'm a big fan of putting title fights on network TV. Even though you likely won't see GSP and Anderson Silva on FOX anytime soon, the non-marquee divisions will slowly gain respect and star power through all of the eyeballs they are catching.
The first Bellator MMA broadcast on Spike set a TV ratings record for the promotion, notching in at an average of 938,000 viewers for Bellator 85.
Thursday’s Bellator 86 didn’t do quite as well, but it didn’t take a hard fall either.
Bellator 86 averaged 812,000 viewers, according to MMAWeekly.com industry sources. That number is still four to five times higher than most of the Bellator events drew during its stint on MTV2.
Bellator has accounted for a more than 75-percent improvement in several of the key advertising demographics for Spike TV compared to the prior four weeks of programming.
Let's be clear here - the slight dip in the ratings is just that, slight. It's to be expected as things level out, but if these numbers are any indication of what we can expect during the Spike-Bellator relationship, Bjorn Rebney and company are in for a pleasant surprise as well as a foothold as a strong alternative to the UFC.
The promotion for Bellator has been impressive, at least on Spike's end. Just as it was while the UFC was a partner, Bellator commercials and screen spots are all over the place. It's also telling when I can walk into the bathroom of a random bar in Philadelphia, and find a pack of Bellator posters and coasters for taking.
One-on-One with UFC President Dana White
It was a really cool, fun time training every day, boxing. So one day we’re at set and Robert De Niro comes in. De Niro is there because Angelo Dundee, they flew Dundee in. We’re in a room way smaller than this. Tiny little room, right? And Angelo Dundee is talking and Robert De Niro is filming him with a camcorder because he wants to get all of his mannerisms and see the way he talks and everything else.
So you’re De Niro and I’m me. We’re all standing up. So they get done with this whole thing with Dundee and we leave. I think we went and ate or something. Me and Mark went and ate and came back and Mark grabs me and pulls me aside and says, ‘Dana, you got to stop staring at Bobby. You’re freaking him out.’
I’m like, ‘Mark it’s f—-ing Robert De Niro, man. I’m in a room with DiNiro and I guess I was staring at him the whole time.’ He’s like, I’m telling you man, if you don’t stop staring at him you’re not going to be able to go back in the room. You’re totally freaking him out. So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll stop staring at De Niro.’
Be sure to click on the link above and read the rest of the interview Wertheim did with Dana. Probably one of the better ones that I've read in a while.
Showtime Sports Boss Wants to See UFC Champ vs. Strikeforce Champ Superfights
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Showtime sports president Stephen Espinoza surprisingly put forth a hope of matching Strikeforce champions against UFC champions.
“I hope that we’re getting the story out there clearly enough that these are two high-level organizations, he said. “You can make the analogy—the one I like to use is the AFL and the NFL. Before the NFL as we currently know it existed, there were two leagues and they’d play once a year in the Super Bowl. And that’s how the Super Bowl came about, was a championship between two different leagues. I think a best case-scenario for the fans that I talk to and I’m sure the fans that you talk to, [they] would like to see some structure like that and sort of answer those questions about who is the best middleweight, who is the best welterweight, all those kinds of things going forward.”
Espinoza didn’t say how likely such a scenario is, and chances are probably against it in the immediate future given the demanding schedules of the UFC and Strikeforce, along with all of the contractual obligations and fine-print details that might get in the way. Yet it’s certainly intriguing to hear that a high-powered executive with some sway in the possibility has an interest in answering the questions that are until now, just hypothetical.
I know what you're thinking. UFC vs. PRIDE. UFC vs. WEC. They never happened. And UFC vs. Strikeforce probably never will either, but for the first time, we actually have a non-Zuffa/DSE executive who is willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Still gives me hope.
“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” is expected to air for U.S. audiences on FUEL TV in June, FUEL TV executive vice president and general manager George Greenberg today confirmed.
Greenberg said FUEL TV decided to delay the debut of the first international season of the long-running reality series in order to avoid competition with “The Ultimate Fighter: Live.”
“We don’t want to take any air out of the room promotionally for ‘TUF’ on FX,” the executive told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “As soon as ‘TUF’ on FX is done then we will premiere ‘TUF: Brazil,’ which will feed into the next ‘TUF’ on FX.”
Good news for those who haven't seen any of the season yet and are waiting for it to hit the television airwaves. I've been catching the episodes a couple of days later online and they have been pretty entertaining.