For the first time in the history of The Ultimate Fighter franchise, an episode dipped below one million viewers. Week five of TUF: Live pulled in an audience of 947,000 to see Team Faber’s Michael Chiesa defeat Team Cruz’s Jeremy Larsen.
The victory kept matchmaking control squarely in Urijah Faber’s camp, but it did little to bolster the ratings.
The new jive-live Ultimate Fighter format and the new home on FX were expected to be big boosts for the series formerly housed on Spike TV, but after premiering to 1.3 million viewers, the audience has slowly drifted down to less than a million.
There have been many fingers pointed by fans and pundits on the Internet. Some say that Friday night is a poor choice to get people to stay in and watch TUF, while others say the format is getting stale, despite the fights taking place live on each week’s episode.
UFC president Dana White has said recently that both the UFC and Fox officials were content with the TV ratings for TUF: Live, indicating that they expected a building process when they moved from Spike TV over to FX.