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Ratings Update: UFC 156 Prelims Set Record Numbers, Epic KO Fails to Boost TUF 17


If the first month is any indication, 2013 is going to be a good year for MMA. There hasn’t been a significant injury in weeks (sorry Patricky), title fights are almost starting to make sense, and on top of it all, the UFC’s primetime ratings are slowly beginning their climb out of the abyss. Throw in the fact that Bruce Buffer’s upcoming autobiography is all but a shoe-in for a Pulitzer and we are left with little to complain about. It feels…good.

So before we jinx ourselves, let’s get to the great news regarding the preliminary portion of UFC 156, which was able to pull in record numbers during its run on FX last Saturday despite the fact that it featured several debuting fighters and not a lot of name power. As MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer reports:

Saturday’s UFC 156 prelims drew 1,897,000 viewers, topping the previous UFC on FX record of 1,860,000 viewers set two weeks earlier for the Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping card from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The number was a huge increase from the prelims on FX on Jan. 26 before the FOX network special from Chicago’s United Center which did 1,208,000 viewers.

The largest previous audience on FX for prelims before a big show came on July 7 when theUFC 148 prelims did 1.8 million viewers. But that was to be expected, since there was more interest in UFC on that day with the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen middleweight title rematch than any day over the past two years. 

After almost ten minutes of research, we have determined that there are only two real explanations for the UFC’s sudden viewership jump:

1) Americans were riding the violence-fueled high that only the anticipation of the Super Bowl can bring.
2) Jacob Volkmann‘s cult of survivalist troglodytes has gained a far greater following than we previously thought possible. This is probably the correct answer.

Unfortunately, not all is well in the land of UFC ratings…

Despite receiving Dana White’s hype-seal of approval and delivering one of the most violent knockouts in the history of The Ultimate Fighter, Tuesday’s episode of TUF 17 took a significant dip in ratings. Where episode two managed to reel in 1.27 million viewers and a 1.5 household rating, the third episode of the oft duplicated reality show only took in a .92 rating and 1.2 million viewers.

Granted, these numbers aren’t even in the same ballpark as the shameful lows last season brought, but it kind of makes you wonder how an episode that received so much more publicity failed to stir up the same amount of interest. Any ideas as to this drop in ratings, Taters?

Semi-related: The Fifteen Greatest Knockouts in TUF History

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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teep- February 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm
I DVR everything. Never watch football. Last season of TUF, I just watched the fights and fast forwarded through all the antics, Mayhem, and Bisping "talking". It made for a much better experience.
Alan K- February 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm
Because people are immune to Dana's hyperbole? Because people realized there was a black man in the ambulance, which meant that either they were baiting-and-switching us with that clip or one of the guys people want to see win was going to die and people didn't care to watch? Because Jones's inability to book the first fight turned off viewers? Because Aliens? Can we blame it on aliens?
Cup Cheick- February 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm
I do not think DVR is included in ratings but I almost always record and watch the next day. The commercials are brutal and the 20 minutes of fight hype before the fight is just as bad. So you get 5 minutes of recap, 5 minutes of dramatic training 10-20 minutes of hype depending on how the fight ends. The rest... Harley commercials and that stupid mohawk fuck getting knocked out by Vin Diesel lite on REPEAT. I imagine most people DVR regardless of what time of day or what Dana says.
2DaDeath- February 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm
I agree with the notion that Dana is to blame for the weak ratings cuz he's an unreliable hyper. (See boy who cried wolf, chicken little, New-Agers prior to 12/21/12... etc)
Mr_Misanthropy- February 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm
It is doing so great because fuck TV. That's why.
JayPeazy- February 7, 2013 at 11:03 am
No real solution to TUF. Maybe go for some new fans. Probably not many will agree, but I say let's face Coach Rousey against Coach Borg and introduce some MMA broads to the mainstream. (Sorry, I forget...chicks hate being called broads.)

My boss snores and sometimes even talks when he sleeps at his desk.
Kintamachikara- February 7, 2013 at 10:01 am
1 exciting/dramatic KO resulting in concern of death does not a reality show make.
biohazardone- February 7, 2013 at 9:43 am
I honestly believe that Dana's hype of this episode turned off many fans due to the simple fact that in the past when a fighter or a fight is hyped, it turns out to be not very dramatic as one had hoped giving the hype it was given. I think the TUF show needs to regroup and push to bring back old fans back to watching this show. Keep in mind the last couple of seasons have been on a Friday (WTF!!!) which did not win them any fans. If anything, the show lost a lot of fan base cuz...well think about it...I have better things to do on a Friday night. They just need to concentrate on promoting the show in its new time slot.
Fried Taco- February 7, 2013 at 9:34 am
I believe the reason is premature ejaculation. Some of us just couldn't hold on for a week.
HomeSchooled- February 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm
ohh yes the premature e-jacks. that's got to be it
Mr_Misanthropy- February 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm
Yeah- you can't hold that shit in. It'll coagulate like spackle in your peehole and then when you try to take a wizz it burns and squirts all over the place like when you put your thumb on the end of a garden hose. Better just blast it out.