The Ultimate Fighter 16 episode 1: 947,000 viewers

September 17, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that the season premiere of TUF season 16 scored an average viewership of 947,000 viewers.  The rating is the lowest ever for the debut of the TUF series.

TUF 16’s 2 hour season premiere featured the opening fights to get into the house.  Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson watched octagon-side with Dana White.

Payout Perspective:

Without a UFC event since UFC 150, one would think that more people would want to tune in to the TUF 16 season premiere see some fresh UFC fights.  Of course, watching a bunch of up and coming fighters may not be what the MMA fan is looking for in a Friday night.  It appears that the new ratings standard for TUF on FX may be somewhere around 1 million viewers.  I did like the promos for the fighters on FX leading up to the debut but we will see if it gains some traction this season.

14 Responses to “The Ultimate Fighter 16 episode 1: 947,000 viewers”

  1. BrainSmasher on September 17th, 2012 10:29 PM


    Im not saying this is a reason TUF has declined as bad as it has. BUt do you think the UFC has purposely made the last TUF and this TUF lack luster? The reason i say that. There is some things the UFC can do and imo will do soon to really give TUF a shot in the arm. But i think there is a chance they didnt want to do it with Spike still having their rights to counter and confuse the public and dampen the effect of any big news or change in TUF. For example. I think most people expected the last TUF to be one of the worst as far as appeal. Light weight fighters dont sell in MMA yet and the UFC puts out 2 guys who spent their career in WEC and had a combined 5 UFC fights. Now this season we get another poor selection as TUF coaches. Nelson has a .500 record in his last 10 fights. Carwin has lost his last 2 fights and been extremely inactive.

    So it seems to be the UFC wasnt exactly putting their best foot forward. Its hard to assume imo that it was by accident. This episode here was countered by Spike and had almost 500,000 viewers. I think the UFC expected their numbers to be better for sure just because of being on FX. But not due to any changes in the show.

    I was wanting to get your thoughts on this. Because the way i see it. If this is the case. The UFC could be planning something big for the next TUF. Somethign to grab headlines when Spike can no longer use their most powerful asset, the UFC brand name. I expect them to either come out with a big name as a contestant. That drew ratings when they had Kimbo. Or it could be Rhonda Rousey as TUF coach! Imagine the drama when guys take orders from a girl in fighting. Or it could be a completely new format. As much as i wanted TUF of FX to be different. IT really wouldnt have went over well if you put all your eggs into one basket and get a lot of attention and have people looking for UFC and land on Spike. We saw this with the high numbers Spike got with the success of UFC on FOX 1. A lot of people found Spike first and they have continued to draw good ratings with reruns. IT really would have been smart to save any surprised until 2013. What do you think?

  2. Felix on September 17th, 2012 11:33 PM

    Not surprised to see this. Who watches TUF anymore?

  3. abcd on September 18th, 2012 5:32 AM

    Hey BrainSmasher,

    awesome excuse as always

    very creative

  4. Sampson Simpson on September 18th, 2012 11:09 AM

    Yes. UFC sabotages it’s own product.

    Real real smart idiot.

  5. Machiel Van on September 18th, 2012 12:31 PM

    Meh, this was expected. The show is stale as hell and had to tank eventually. It’s not like it was going to run in perpetuity forever.

  6. Brain Smasher on September 18th, 2012 4:04 PM

    Ok i will explain again so Simpson and other first graders like him can understand. I never said one thing about the UFC sabotaging their own product. They just kept the status quo and didnt change anything. I know your simple brain cant grasp this concept but sometimes good business decisions take planning and timing. A revamp of the show or a huge headline grabber like they did with Kimbo imo is not going to be nearly as effective with Spike counter programming. It is best to save that until 2013. The UFC on FOX drew Spike an extra 700,000 viewers that were potential UFC and PPV buying fans wasted. The hype around the start of this TUF season boosted Spike’s counter programming again. So each time the UFC loses possible viewers and strengthens their rivals. Why break out anything new and waste it? After this season they will get all the benefit and and not boost Spike TV. Waiting 2 YUF season to better the next 16 seasons of TUF is a small price to pay.

    Maybe you should pick up a dictionary and learn what sabotage means before you call someone else an idiot.

  7. Brain Smasher on September 18th, 2012 4:08 PM

    I agree it is astale. But it is still successful. These ratings are still better than any MMA show or event rant by any other promotion on cable or a premium channel. Showtime has never got this many viewers. IFl never got this many. Bellator never got this many. Not only have they never got this number of viwers. They never have gotten close. 1 million viewers on cable is still a lot of people.

  8. Weezy on September 18th, 2012 4:51 PM

    In regard to this, it seems like it’s a matter of perspective. There is obviously no dispute that the series, in its 16th season, has had a big reduction in viewership. It very well could be that FX is upset and cancels it (haven’t heard them even allude to that but who knows?). Still, in comparison, Friday Night Fights is a popular long running series on ESPN2 (like FX, a channel in roughly 100 million U.S. homes) and they averaged 409,000 viewers per episode during their 26 episode run in 2012. From what I can tell execs in Bristol, CT are happy with the series. We’ll just have to see how this all plays out. Put simply, if they’re not happy with the ratings then they’ll pull the series. There will be no airing it out of kindness. If they are unhappy it will cease to air on FX. If they’re okay with the ratings, the show will resume. I talked to a guy last month that works in the television industry and he made this comment to me about MMA fans (I guess it’s actually a compliment): “You guys ask more about the ratings of your sport than any other fanbase I’ve seen.” LOL…can’t argue with that.

  9. Brain Smasher on September 18th, 2012 5:30 PM

    It is strange MMA fans worry so much about ratings. But i can only offer up a partial possible explaination. When i first started following th esport online as a hardcore fan in the mid 90’s the sport was almost dead. It really was us fans on the internet back then that kept it alive. Its hard to believe we have come so far and it felt like 50 years ago. But the people were so passionate about the sport. I remember when a newspaper would run an article calling MMA human cock fighting and i and everyone on almost every forum would bombard the journalist and defend our sport in a respectful manner. I cant tell you how many times i have wrote to people defending MMA back then trying to change their minds about the sport. Any time the UFC or another MMA promotion or fighter was on tv (rare back then) every fan would tune it. Fox’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period” had UFC fighters on and it set their record ratigns for the show. They started bringing them back and even got the UFC to set up an event for them to air on the show(UFC 37.5). People today really dont understand what a hardcore fan really is. BUt we always want to see the ratings hoping the sport grows. Almost like a parent wanting to see their kids report card. Thats why i and many others care so much about the ratings. We have been through so much with the sport. But what i dont understand is why casual fans who were not around back then and know jack crap about the sport get so caught up in the ratings. Maybe its because they see it as an issue with hardcore fans and trying to pretend to be a hardcore fans themselves. Much as noobs did when they jumped on the Pride bandwagon back then. Until TUF only the hardcore fans in the US even know what Pride was. So TUF noobs would jump on the “Pride rules!” Bandwagon to appear not to be noob.

    Damn, i wish my memory for school/work related stuff was as good as it is for MMA related stuff.

  10. jose on September 18th, 2012 9:37 PM

    TUF is just stale. We’ve seen it all. All the personal stories are the same. All the stupid pranks are the same. Everything is the same. Same is boring.

  11. Sampson Simpson on September 19th, 2012 8:20 AM

    FNF on ESPN costs less than $4 million per year.

    Ratings are always relative to costs.

  12. Weezy on September 19th, 2012 2:27 PM

    “FNF on ESPN costs less than $4 million per year.”

    I’ve heard they pay around $3 million total in licensing fees alone every year (don’t know if accurate but I’ve heard that). That’s before any production, travel, etc…. I would have thought their total investment was much higher.

  13. Columbo on September 20th, 2012 10:24 AM

    @Brainsmasher The UFC tried to give TUF a shot in the arm the previous cycle by making the fights live but it was a ratings disappointment. Maybe the ratings will go up once the fighters enter the house and get crazy, who knows.

  14. Brain Smasher on September 23rd, 2012 11:47 PM

    I dont think that was really a shot in the arm. IT was really just to be different from the spike TUF. I liked it but it didnt help ratings and give them nothing to promote the weekly shows with. The good thing about being record as much as i dont prefer it is when you know the next weeks drama or fight is going to be great you can promote it and show clips. Being live only allowed them to say “Watch TUF” and nothing more.

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