February 6, 2014
Dana White’s “The Fighters” debuted a couple of weeks ago on the Discovery Channel and drew a disappointing 347,000 viewers. A number Dana White himself called “horrendous”. The show hasn’t aired since, which led to speculation that the show could be canceled.
After weeks of doubts from fans, The Fighter’s Peter Welch finally responded yesterday to a fan on twitter asking if the show had indeed been canceled.
— Peter Welch (@PeterWelch371) February 5, 2014
Unfortunately, the debut of “The Fighters” didn’t live up to Discovery’s expectations. The hope was to gather boxing and UFC fans to tune in and bring in strong numbers and a strong M18-34 demo, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Dana White, in a Lunch Q & A session last week, stated that he “promoted the sh*t out of the show”, but that Discovery didn’t do much on their end. Realistically, another reality TV show about combat sports is nothing new to TV viewers with The Contenders and The Ultimate Fighter. There was nothing ground breaking about it and nothing new that casuals hadn’t seen before. As the show was announced to air, Dana White mentioned that they had been working on the show for a while and had pitched it to many networks. Discovery was the only network that bought it and Dana White was incredibly ecstatic about the opportunity. It seems that one show was enough for Discovery to pull the plug.
January 24, 2014
MMAPayout has learned through Nielsen sources that Dana White’s “The Fighters” debut last night on the Discovery Channel drew an average of 347,000 viewers.
The 347,000 viewer average was not good enough to place it in the top 100 cable shows for the day. In fact, there were 9 telecasts on Discovery alone that had a larger audience yesterday.
Simply put, “The Fighters”, whos executive producer is UFC President Dana White, is off to a very rocky start. In terms of competition, History Channel’s Pawn Stars had the highest cable TV viewership last night with 5.17M. In terms of sport & entertainment competition, TNA on Spike TV last night drew 1.56M viewers while NBA on TNT drew 2.65M viewers.
Why the UFC is currently investing time in a Boxing reality TV show is not clear, but there has been quite a bit of talk recently of the UFC perhaps promoting boxing PPVs. There has been constant talk of Roy Jones Jr wanting to box either Anderson Silva or Nick Diaz since last year and even Dana White saying that promoting a boxing PPV is not out of the question. Jumping into the Boxing reality TV venture may be one of trying to take yet another slice of the PPV pie by trying to recreate the magic TUF created for Zuffa’s MMA venture. With recent retirement talk from GSP, Anderson Silva, and many of the UFC’s biggest PPV stars, diversifying their PPV portfolio may not seem like such a big stretch as we head to a rough 2014.