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ROUNDTABLE: Why have ratings for "The Ultimate Fighter: Live" on FX been so poor?
Apr 10, 2012 - 5:15:04 PM
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After five weeks, The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX has failed to hit even Spike TV averages for ratings; to what do you attribute the show's poor performance thus far?

RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

It's The Ultimate Fighter, and it sucks. These questions are too easy. Why in the hell would I watch Myles Jury when I could watch Pat Curran? Mike Chiesa, or Marlon Sandro? OK, so that's why *I* don't watch TUF. As for the public? Since I'm too cynical to believe that the masses are collectively getting smarter, I'm chalking it up to the fact that 1.) It's on Friday nights, dude; and B.) There's a limited appeal to cage fighting. Oh, and reason number 3.) It's the exact same god damned show that has had a downward trend in ratings for several years now (Kimbo Slice season notwithstanding). Even if there's a little less of the idiots inseminating food in a house factor this season, it's the same damn show.


FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Anytime you change networks, you lose something. It's like the way the internet works. When your computer sends information packets somewhere, a few are bound to get lost. Unfortunately, it's easy to de-frag your computer, not as easy to fix sagging ratings. The UFC and its partners just need to accept that this is where TUF is at now. Unless they can get a Kimbo Slice-type contestant on the show, the ratings are unlikely to rise. If the ratings keep going down, though, then it might be time to panic. I think they'll hold steady, though.


ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

I think it's overstayed it's welcome. None of the fighters in the past seasons have seemed to break through, and it's hurting the product. Also, I think that the UFC became so synonymous with Spike that many fans seem to be missing the show because they expect to be on Spike and not FX. There's no telling what's attributing to the decline, but the UFC would be quick to rectify this.


BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

There are so many answers to this question that I don't even know where to start. First of all, the overall value of the show is right up there with reruns of 'Coach' – in that no one really cares to watch unsigned fighters try to earn a spot on the roster until they lose a couple of fights and get cut. Add to that the fact that we've been through numerous seasons already, and even with the biggest UFC stars coaching the new comers, nobody tunes in en mass, and you have the money pit we call TUF. Don't get me wrong, the UFC is always going to make money off of the show because advertisers don’t realize how little of the show most people legitimately give their full attention to. Me? I fast forward to the fight and delete it off of my DVR; I don't have time for 55 minutes of immature shenanigans that make me want to fire the people who selected the fighters. It's been basically the same since the beginning, and it’s dried up worse than the Mojave Desert. So the ratings stink, the shows same-old same-old premise stinks, and the coaches act like BFF's half of the time – take the show off the air for a couple of years, hire some new producers, come up with a new concept and then when you bring it back call it ANYTHING but "The Ultimate Fighter.”


ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Friday nights. I love the live format (I got sick of figuring out how long the fights would last on previous seasons based on how late they started in the show), but seriously, Friday nights? I DVR the show, but if I didn't have DVR, I'd never watch.


ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

This is a mystery to me. I watch the show and I also watch other shows on FX. I see The Ultimate Fighter Live being marketed frequently on the network. I have also seen ads for the show on the HDnet network on Inside MMA. FX is a much larger network and the rating should be better than it was on Spike TV. My ultimate conclusion is the two coaches are not big enough names and are not interesting enough to draw viewers. The live aspect of the fights should have made this the biggest season to date of The Ultimate Fighter Live, but the number of viewers has been very disappointing. I think the UFC will learn from this and make future seasons with bigger coaching names.


DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR

In my humble opinion 24 was the greatest television show in history, but as great as it was, it went a bit stale and hit the skids after season six. That inevitably happens to every show eventually, and it happened to the Ultimate Fighter a long time ago. Credit for trying to reinvigorate it with the live fight, yet it hasn't worked. It's still essentially the same format, only the fight occurs in real time (24 anyone!), rather than being pre recorded. Having Cruz and Faber as coaches hasn't helped either. Sadly neither is well known to the casual fan, and their anticipated rivalry hasn't exploded in to life just yet. After so many seasons it's time to do something else, and forget about the entire format for good. It has served its purpose, yet TUF will rightly remain, forever entwined with the growth of the UFC and MMA.


JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

First of all, it can't be overstated how bad Friday nights are for programming like The Ultimate Fighter. As someone who lives on the west coast, let me just say that I would never go out of my way to watch TUF quality fights at 10:00 pm on a Friday. Because I watch on east coast time, I can watch at 7:00 pm and do whatever I want afterwards. Not everyone has that luxury and I think the ratings reflect that.

Also, let me just say that the live format doesn't help out nearly as much as some of us anticipated. Sure, we get great TV moments like Dominick Cruz owning Urijah Faber and his entire team on a fight pick, but it doesn't change the fact that some of the fights really, really suck.

But really, I think anything the UFC puts on FX on a Friday night is going to be seen by less eyeballs than it would any other night of the week.


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