Ultimate Fighter TV Ratings Drift Below 1 Million for the First Time

April 9, 2012
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TUF Live LogoThe Ultimate Fighter: Live, just five weeks into season 15, continues its downward trend in the TV ratings.

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.

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  • Lesnardo

    First, FX is not Spike and second, reality-shows and reality MMA shows get old quickly.

    • the show is on too late to stay up and watch, they should have kept the same time slot as they did on spike.

  • bajafox

    I don’t think it’s getting old…their target audience just isn’t staying at home Friday nights.

    • Ryan


  • adam1848


  • ByrdTravis

    I personally find the new format a bit boring to watch. The way the show was put together on Spike was a lot better and I could care less about if the fights are live. Wednesdays were a perfect day for the show.

    • Completely agree on the new format. I’m watching Ultimate Fighter Brazil at the same time and you can tell how much more drama there is with the pre-recorded style. As a fight fan who just wants to see the fights its not that big of a deal, but to more casual viewers its a major difference.

  • pooby

    I like this season. I like that the shows consist mainly of training and fighting. I like that, despite the fact that Cruz and Faber don’t really like each other there is respect and none of the pro wrestling-esque fakeness like with Rampage and Evans and many other oposing coaches.

    I’m sick of all the reality show BS, the confession cam crap, the phony drama, the fake rivalries, and the retarded pranks.

    I guess I’m in the minority on this.

  • somecokehead

    I think the new format is dry, I liked the spike format better. bad time to air… i always watch on the net because i don’t get fuel tv. i did get spike. Finally Faber vs. cruz… just not a fan. I can see why ratings are falling, I forget what happened from week to week because it really isn’t very interesting. The last episode was probably the worst yet. Add one less veiwer, I am out.

  • Maybe people are as sick of Urijah Faber as I am. This guy was over-hyped in the WEC and it is worse in the UFC.

    • Agreed.
      I never cared for Faber as a person. A good, but not a great fighter. And when MMA started growing and getting better athletes, he started losing. But his mouth still keeps going.
      I like Cruz, and am glad that he is taking the Dan Henderson approach, and not letting Faber’s stupid remarks get to him.
      I don’t look forward to this season like I have in past seasons. Probably because of Faber.
      But I do DVR the show, and will watch the episodes later, when I can fast forward through all the bullshit.
      Hell, don’t drag it out for 13 weeks, let’s have 2 or 3 fights an episode!
      I want to see MMA fights, and how about just a little, not ALL the background crap. And especially not Faber’s diarrhea of the mouth.

  • mmachoman

    TUF formula has stayed more or less the same since it started, and personally, I never cared if it was Live or pre-recorded.

    What I really wanted to see was TUF Brazil, which I can’t because they don’t air it where I live and I can’t watch it online because it’s geo-blocked.
    This is a slow month in MMA and I found myself watching SFL on Youtube yesterday. Going through withdrawal.

  • bluemma

    I’m a fan in the UK and we have to wait until 3 a.m. to watch it live due to different time zones, but I just record it and watch it the next day. I think this new format is far better and you know the fights are taking place there and then. I literally can’t wait for each episode. I like both Faber & Cruz and I think Cruz will just edge it when they fight! It does sound like they would be better putting it on an earlier time or different day in the USA. I think the fighters in this series are really good and you will see a lot of them filter in the UFC over the next couple of years!

  • neilfogel

    I find myself agreeing with both criticisms the time slot and the concept getting real old..BTW for what it’s worth..I have to pay extra on my cable system for Fuel TV now that the UFC has left Spike and the latter makes the former look like a Pulitzer Prize winning network Fuel TV sucks!

  • Bouzerdad

    There is no reason for the “team” to act as such. Dana needs to reward teammates for wins by their team. i.e. each fight won gets each team member a grand or two. This will give rationale to cheer and train eachother….and add rationale for the rivalry.

  • garyfredericks

    A few reasons I FFWD to the fights:

    1) I am just not a Faber and Cruz fan when it comes to reality TV. I love their fights, but they are boring to spend my limited, free, and idle time on.

    2) The new Live format just sucks. I am not a voyeur and the open mic/camera thing is really irritating with too much dead time.

    3) John Anik is the most HORIFFIC announcer….EVER!!! Should have used Mauro Renalo or somebody from their Strikeforce crew. Would have been a lot better IMVHO…and I am not a Pride fanboy by any stretch.

    4) Friday night. ’nuff said. Sure I could DVR it, but why? The whole “live” thing is lost on that.

    I like the old format of the show. Why fix what is not broken?