TUF 26 to feature new women’s flyweight division…or does it

May 3, 2017

According to a UFC press release sent on Wednesday, it announced another women’s division at flyweight with the new division being featured on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.  However, Ariel Helwani and Kevin Iole report that the announcement may have been premature.

The UFC press release reads:

Las Vegas – A new division will be created and a new champion will emerge from the next season of The Ultimate Fighter®. Women’s flyweights, between the ages of 21-34 with a winning record and at least three professional fights are invited to attend the open casting call in Las Vegas. The season will also be open to females on the current UFC roster that can successfully make 125-pounds throughout the duration of the season. The previous casting call for women’s strawweights and bantamweights as well as male middleweights has been cancelled. The season will begin filming in July and premiere on FS1 later this year.

Applications, which should be completed and brought to tryouts, can be found online at http://www.ufc.com/TUF26. The athletes will be required to grapple and hit pads, so please bring appropriate gear. Applicants will be notified at the end of the day if they have been selected to move on in the casting process. If selected, applicants must be prepared to stay in Las Vegas until Saturday, May 27. All questions can be directed to gdefranco@pilgrimstudios.com.

The Ultimate Fighter, which debuted in 2005, has launched the careers of some of the UFC’s most recognizable names and successful athletes. The series has produced six UFC champions including Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, TJ Dillashaw, Carla Esparza, and Matt Serra.

WHO:             125-pound women

WHEN:          Tuesday, May 23 at 8 a.m. PT

WHERE:       Palace Station Hotel

2411 W. Sahara Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89102

According to a Kevin Iole story Tuesday night, he indicates the UFC is “considering” a 125 pound division.  In speaking with Dana White, he states the press release was sent in error.  Ariel Helwani tweeted that the division has yet to be approved.  It was not clear the entity that would need to approve of the new division.

Payout Perspective:

A 125 division might be advantageous for women that have a hard time making the 115 pound weight class and are too small for 135 pounds.  But, it would create a glut of titles in the UFC.  It already established a women’s 145 pound division although there are maybe two or three fighters in that division.  As for the miscommunication, it seems as though this was a faux pas although one that was received with mostly positive reviews.  With the news out there, I would think that this it is a formality until this is confirmed.

Coaches for TUF 25 announced

January 16, 2017

The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature bantamweight coaches T.J. Dillashaw and newly crowned champ Cody Garbrandt according to a UFC press release. The long-running series will continue with former competitors from past seasons on the show.

The new season begins on FS1 on April 19th with a two hour premiere.

Payout Perspective:

No date yet for a fight between Garbrandt and Dillashaw although the press release indicated that they would fight after the season of TUF so this might put us at the July show of International Fight Week which would be a great co-main event.  As for the series, I’m not sure if these two as coaches will garner more viewers than previous seasons although the curiosity of seeing past TUF fighters serves as a “Where are they now” sort of feel for people that have watched past seasons.

TUF 23 coaches top salaries for Finale

July 12, 2016

Joanna Jedrzejcyk topped the list of payouts for Friday’s TUF Finale in Vegas.  The women’s strawweight champion made $210,000 for her title defense against Claudia Gadelha according to disclosed payouts released from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The rest of the payouts are here via MMA Junkie:

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: $210,000 (includes $105,000 win bonus)
def. Claudia Gadelha: $100,000

Andrew Sanchez: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Khalil Rountree: $15,000

Tatiana Suarez: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Cooper: $15,000

Will Brooks: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Ross Pearson: $54,000

Doo Ho Choi: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Thiago Tavares: $37,000

Joaquim Silva: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Andrew Holbrook: $12,000

Gray Maynard: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. Fernando Bruno: $12,000

Matheus Nicolau: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. John Moraga: $28,000

Josh Stansbury: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Cory Hendricks: $10,000

Cezar Ferreira: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Smith: $15,000

Kevin Lee: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Jake Matthews: $22,000

Li Jingliang: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Anton Zafir: $10,000

Payout Perspective:

Notably, Will Brooks earned $100,000 for his UFC debut against Ross Pearson.  Brooks, the former Bellator lightweight champ that was released from the Viacom-owned company in May was making approximately $36K/$36K although there were reports that Bellator offered him more to stay.  For Brooks, starting at $50K/$50K shows respect by the UFC that they think he has potential to be a headliner.  For Gadelha, her $100K salary reflects a 10x increase from her first fight with Jedrzejczyk at UFC on Fox 13 in December 2014.

TUF 23 Episode 11 draws 447,000 viewers

June 30, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter 23 episode 11 drew 447,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night.  The viewership is higher than the season average.

The 11th episode averaged 285,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.

In the women’s semifinal, Amanda Cooper defeated teammate Lanchana Green via rear naked choke.

Episode 10

It should be noted that last week’s Episode 10 which was moved around to accommodate soccer last week drew 167,000 viewers (88,000 A18-49).  The DVR +3 numbers for Episode 10 last week drew 228,000 viewers for a 2:30amET telecast of TUF Episode 10.  The overnight rating (Live +SD) drew 107,000.

The season average on FS1 is 377,000 viewers.  Last weeks’ time change hurt the average.

Payout Perspective:

TUF was second to the 10:00pm ESPN Sportscenter (855,000) in the 10-11pm time slot per Sports TV Ratings.  The Episode 11 rating is slightly better than last year’s TUF 21 11th episode.

TUF 23 Episode 3 DVR viewership up to 642,000

May 11, 2016

Last week’s TUF 23 Episode 3 saw another big increase in viewership factoring in the DVR ratings.  This week saw a 55% increase from the Live viewership.

Notably, its increase in DVR viewership fared better than last spring’s increase for TUF 21.


Payout Perspective: 

It’s clear that TUF does best when recorded for later viewing.  Going up against live sports at this time (i.e., NBA and NHL Playoffs) is a tough task.

UFC on Fox 19 final overnight rating and prelims

April 21, 2016

UFC on Fox 19 Saturday drew an average rating of 2.5 million viewers on Saturday according to Nielsen.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Fox drew 1.4 million viewers.

The main card peaked with 2.8 million viewers.

The prelims which featured Michael Chiesa submitting Beneil Dariush drew a 0.9 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share.  It improved from last April’s UFC on Fox Prelims by 13%.  It was the third time that the prelims for a UFC on Fox event aired on Fox.

The final overnight ratings for the main card is slightly off last April’s UFC on Fox 15 Prelims which drew 2.7 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are good considering this card was hit hard with removals including a fight (Islam Makhachev-Drew Dober) that was taken off after the weigh-ins.  The ratings show the relative stability in knowing what to expect with these cards.

Liddell and Griffin to coach TUF Latin America

April 11, 2016

UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin will serve as coaches in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America to be shot in Latin America.

The season will begin airing in Buenos Aires, Argentina this spring with the season 3 finale taking place November 5th in Mexico.  The series will air on UFC Fight Pass as well as local networks in the region.


Via UFC press release:

The first Spanish speaking series of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, was launched in 2004 reaching an average of seven million viewers per episode in Mexico and millions more viewers around Latin America. The second season followed the footsteps of the first with viewership in UFC Network, Chanel 5 and 14 free-to-air networks. For 2016, UFC has recruited talent from all over the region and divided them into two teams: Team Liddell and Team Griffin. Both teams will represent a combination of Latin American countries. The series will also include special guest appearances by additional UFC athletes brought in by both coaches to enrich their team’s training experience.

Payout Perspective:

The inclusion of Liddell and Griffin for TUF Latin America is a way to attract Fight Pass viewers.  It also helps draw in some U.S. fans as most international TUF events are mainly for that region.  With the two Hall of Famers coaching it’s clear that the UFC is pushing its TUF brand and it’s over the top digital platform.

UFC Fight Night 83 draws 983K, Prelims 829K

February 23, 2016

UFC Fight Night 83 drew an average viewership of 983,000 on FS1 Sunday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims drew 829,000 on FS1 on Sunday.

The main card airing from 9pm-11:38pm ET featured Cowboy versus Cowboy with Cerrone defeating Oliviera.  The prelims which preceded the main card aired from 7-9pm ET.

Only the NBA on ESPN featuring Kobe Bryant’s last visit to Chicago did better on sports cable drawing 1.6M viewers on ESPN from 8-10:30pm ET.

The average for Fight Night main cards this year is 1.52M through 3 Fight Night cards.  Of course, UFC Fight Night 82 was converted from a PPV.

Payout Perspective:

There was little competition for UFC on Sunday night and the UFC programming on FS1 had 2 of the top 5 sports cable programs on Sunday night.  The UFC Fight Night events are drawing very good ratings thus far in 2016.  Of course, Sunday night’s fights did not draw as the first two as there were lower tier fighters with the exception of Cerrone.

Kimbo Slice = Ratings

February 19, 2016

The New York Times reports on Bellator 149 tonight mainly focusing on Kimbo Slice’s return to the television.  Regardless of his ability, the former street fighter has produced ratings and Friday night should not be any different.

The brief NYT article characterizes Bellator as a “smaller mixed martial arts organization” that uses “card attention-grabbing fights that make up in colorfulness what they lack in top-flight talent.”  Although a backhanded compliment, the numbers do not lie.  Scott Coker’s “tent pole” events are always ratings boosts.  Slice has the “it” factor when it comes to viewership.  Last June’s fight against Ken Shamrock drew the highest ratings in Bellator MMA’s history.

Whenever Slice is on television, he draws ratings.  His appearance on TUF in 2009 on Spike TV drew the best ratings for the franchise as the 12 episodes averaged slightly over 3 million viewers.  Of course, the feud brewing between Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson helped keep the viewership base.  Still, Slice was/is a ratings magnate.  It’s worthy to note that the TUF Finale 10 featuring Slice in December 2009 drew 3.7 million viewers and peaked with 5.2 million viewers for his fight with Houston Alexander.

Prior to his stint in the UFC, his Elite XC appearances on CBS drew large ratings with 4.85 million viewers in May 2008 and 4.56 million viewers in October 2008.

Slice versus Dada 5000 will not be a technical matchup but the promotion for the fight has been nothing but spectacular.  If you like grudge matches and want to see old rivals fight, you will tune in to see this.

Payout Perspective:

The Slice-Dada build for this fight has been great.  While the betting lines have brought more scrutiny to this fight, it’s likely that the additional spotlight will bring more viewers tonight.  The fight, which will likely last less than one round, has overshadowed the main event of Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

UFC announces next TUF season on FS1

January 18, 2016

The UFC announced the next season of The Ultimate Fighter franchise on Sunday with UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejcyk coaching opposite Claudia Gadelha.  The season will coach light heavyweight and strawweights with the season starting April 20th on FS1.

The series will culminate on July 8th in Las Vegas as part of International Fight Week with a fight between the coaches for Jedrzejcyk’s strawweight championship.

Via UFC press release:

The Ultimate Fighter®: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia will kick-off on FS1 on Wednesday, April 20 with a two-hour season premiere airing at 10 p.m. ET as 32 competitors fight for one of 16 slots – eight in each weight class – available to be coached by two of the sport’s best. The season will continue with 11 one-hour shows Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET. The series is the highest rated and most watched original program since the network’s inception in August 2013.

Payout Perspective:

The series is a staple of FS1 programming and if the press release is correct, is very popular on the network.  Of course, it is not comparing it to TUF when it was on Spike TV.  Then again, that was a long time ago when MMA was not on television as much as it is now.  The series should help with the profile of Joanna Jedrzejcyk as she is a great fighter and personality which will hopefully show throughout the series.  With Ronda Rousey working on outside-MMA projects, Jedrzejcyk and Holly Holm will be pushed to help with the women’s demo.  The Polish fighter should help with international fans as well.

The other news here is that we have some news on the events on International Fight Week which culminates with UFC 200.  There will be at least one other show the same weekend as UFC 200.  We will see if the UFC attempts to hold 3 shows as it did this past December.

Next Page »