People are not watching The Ultimate Fighter anymore. At least not as much as they once did. The UFC has season one to thank for much of its success. But since that time there have been format changes, rules changes and, most recently, a network change. Still the numbers are down. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Bad Night.
The Ultimate Fighter used to come on in the middle of the week. This was perfect. There’s no better way to deal with the stress of the first part of the week than by watching a bunch of dudes absolutely destroy a mansion, each other and eventually themselves.
On Friday nights, people go out to see that sort of thing. The only people watching TV on Friday nights are in their mid-80s and looking for Diagnosis Murder reruns. Ethel and Norma don’t care much for reality shows about fighting, or so the ratings tell us.
2. Talent Pool.
This is the same problem the singing shows like American Idol are suffering from. The first season was great.
“Wow! That guy can really sing. Why hasn’t anyone discovered him yet? Let’s give him a big bag of money.”
But now with YouTube and the emergence of social media, if you can sing you’ll get discovered. You don’t need Simon or Randy anymore. Actually, you don’t even need to know how to sing but that’s beside the point.
Almost all of the really talented fighters are already on the UFC radar. If the guys in the UFC that keep track of young prospects find a blue chip, the last thing they want to do is put the kid on a reality show where he’s locked in a house with a bunch of maniacs and could potentially meltdown.
3. Same Old Song and Dance.
Every season, check that, every episode of The Ultimate Fighter is the same. Here’s the basic rundown of every single episode.
First five minutes – Recap of the last show.
Next ten minutes – One coach is an idiot and doesn’t care about his team. The other coach is really cool and buys ice cream and Bentley’s for his guys.
Next five minutes – Guy gets really drunk. No, you don’t understand, I mean really drunk and tries to blow up the mansion with a jar of kerosene and a blow torch. His teammates talk him out of it at the last minute.
Next five minutes – The prefight interviews where both fighters talk about how they are doing this for their daughter and how they are going to “leave it all in the octagon.”
Final ten minutes – The actual fight. This is where, at most, only one guy, “leaves it all in the octagon.” The other guy gets left in the octagon while everyone else celebrates the fact that he got knocked out.
Repeat cycle at the beginning of the next show where the defeated fighter’s coach complains about how he abandoned the game plan and wouldn’t listen to his corner.
Sorry for spoiling the rest of the season for you but what do you care? You’re not watching it anyway.