The Ultimate Fighter: Live kicked off season 15 with 16 one-round fights, aired live on FX. Each episode for the rest of the season will feature footage filmed and edited within a few days of each Friday night episode, culminating in at least one live fight each week.
TUF: Live is the first time that the popular series has aired since the new UFC television deal with the Fox family of networks. All 14 previous seasons aired on Spike TV.
To put the number into perspective, the debut of the first The Ultimate Fighter on Spike drew 1.7 million viewers, averaging 2.0 million viewers per premier episode over 14 seasons.
The Spike TV numbers include a first episode low of 1.5 million viewers for the TUF 14 premiere, and a high of 4.1 million viewers for the TUF 10 premiere. TUF 10 was also the season that featured YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice.
The TUF: Live premier, when coupled with a showing of Transformers 2, was still strong enough to propel FX to a Friday night victory in the ratings race for Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-35, according to FX’s John Solberg, the network’s senior vice president of media relations.
Spike TV continued to counter-program the UFC’s offerings with the library of UFC programming that remains in their availability for the remainder of this year. Spike countered TUF: Live with its own Ultimate Fighter Friday Night, featuring a best-of from the years The Ultimate Fighter aired on its network. Ultimate Fighter Friday Night premiered opposite TUF: Live drawing 653,000 viewers.