The Ultimate Fighter 18 Premiers to Half the Audience of The Ultimate Fighter 17

Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate TUF 18The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate opened the series’ eighteenth installment on Wednesday night, drawing an audience of 762,000 viewers for the premier episode.

TUF 18 marks the move of the reality show from FX to the new Fox Sports 1 network, and thus far the move has been rocky, at best.

By comparison, TUF 17 premiered to an audience of 1.51 million viewers, more than double Wednesday night’s premier.

TUF 17, of course, featured UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen as coaches. It also aired on Tuesday nights on FX.

TUF 18 has generated it’s own share of anticipation due to the rivalry between coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. The show also features both male and female fighters in the house for the first time in the reality series’ history.

The move to Wednesday night was at the request of Fox executives, who wanted the UFC to anchor its new sports network’s Wednesday night offerings.

Fight Master, Bellator MMA’s new reality series, averaged 622,000 viewers. That number includes the overnight rating, plus the viewers watching the show on DVR within the next three days, also known as the Live +3 Day rating. The initial TUF 18 TV ratings include only the overnight Nielsen rating and should rise when the three days of DVR viewing are included.

UFC president Dana White acknowledged that Wednesday nights would be a challenge in attracting a live audience to events, but it appears TV isn’t a sure thing either.

(Correction: The correct number of viewers for the TUF 18 premiere was 762,000, not the 726,000 initially reported.)

Be sure to Like on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.