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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
"The Ultimate Fighter: Live" on FX hasn't gotten off to a great start from a ratings standpoint. The long-running reality show shifted to FX from Spike this year, and moved to a new timeslot, along with changing up the format to air the fights in the tournament live each week.
Those changes bred plenty of excitement amongst the MMA fanbase, but thus far the show has drown lower than the Spike seasons. A multitude of things are likely at play in the lower numbers, but regardless of the reasons, UFC President Dana White says he's not going into panic mode at all.
"Far from it," White said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. "Spirits are high around here. Everything is good... There's so many things that are involved in those numbers. I didn't expect to jump on FX and do 3.5 million viewers right out of the gate. But here's the thing: The format is awesome. It's perfect. We've got a great season, and we're going to build this thing."
White says FX executives are more than happy with where the show is at right now, and White trusts the work they put into analyzing the performance of the show. And no matter what the ratings are at right now, White's more than happy with the new live format for the show.
"Believe me, the way that FX deals with their programming and how they handle it, they're so analytical," White said. "These guys are like [expletive] rocket scientists how they break this stuff down and look at it. Trust me, everything is positive over there."
"I couldn't be happier with this format. I love this format. You go the from the last five days of reality to a live fight. It's awesome. It's perfect."
Penick's Analysis: I like the format change, for sure, and having the fights air live each week adds an unexpected feeling to the season. Past years there have been guys that are seen as favorites to get to the finals immediately, either due to where they were blogging or rumblings on the internet because the show was pre-taped. With the fights airing live each week, we're seeing the whole process play out on its own in real time. Some of the pre-taped "reality" segments aren't any more entertaining than previous seasons, but we're also getting some more in depth training segments in place of some of that, getting more of a look at how the fighters and coaches are preparing for the fights each week. The numbers are sure to improve as the show continues on, and they may decide to shift the day of the week for the show next season, but for now there's still some unfamiliarity with the UFC on FX, and it's taking some getting used to for all involved. As long as FX is happy with the numbers, however, the UFC's in a good spot.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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