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‘TUF 13′ Premiere Ratings: Brock Lesnar Is No Kimbo Slice

(Three seasons later, the ‘Innerme‘ still looms large…)

With a big-name crossover star like Brock Lesnar as one of the coaches for this season of The Ultimate Fighter, we wondered if TUF 13‘s viewership ratings would land anywhere near TUF 10‘s — the heavyweight season featuring Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans as coaches and Kimbo Slice as one of the heavyweight hopefuls. According to the numbers released by Spike, TUF 13‘s premiere ratings couldn’t hold a candle to Kimbo.

Wednesday’s show attracted an average of 1.5 million viewers and a 1.0 household rating, and earned the highest viewership numbers for men 18-34 and 18-49 in its new 9 p.m. time slot, with ratings of 1.93 and 1.51, respectively. Still, that’s a far cry from the 4.1 million average viewers that TUF 10 earned in its premiere. It’s also a slight decline from last season’s Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck premiere, which attracted 1.6 million viewers — which was itself a decline from the 1.9 million viewers brought in by the TUF 11: Liddell vs. Ortiz premiere. In fact, the TUF 13 premiere was the least successful debut episode in series history, in terms of household rating.

Responding to the news, UFC president Dana White was in full-on hater-hurtin’ mode, posting the following on the UG: “SINCE WHEN IS 1.5 MILLIONS VIEWERS BAD? People have been saying it is dead since season 4. Sit back and watch bitches or don’t. TUF isnt going anywhere!!!! deal with it.“ Fair enough. But the downward trend can’t be ignored. So what went wrong?

Junior Dos Santos: In the cage, he’s one of the most exciting people in the world. In front of a camera, he’s just another humble Brazilian who hasn’t learned how to talk smack in English yet. Although he’s beloved by hardcore UFC fans, his name means very little to outsiders who are just looking to kill some time until Coal comes on at 10 p.m.

The new time-slot: Speaking of which, I guess there are still some people who don’t have this show permanently programmed into their DVRs. Even if it’s just a difference of one hour on the same night, any shift in time-slot could have an impact.

Brock Lesnar: After his crushing loss to Cain Velasquez, have viewers already written Brock off? When Kimbo Slice appeared on TUF, viewers were curious to see how he’d do in the Octagon, even though he’d already competed four times for EliteXC. Brock doesn’t have the same novelty factor anymore, and fairweather fans may have already jumped ship.

No heat between the coaches: Junior is a nice guy, and Brock has temporarily retired his heel persona. There was no personal rivalry between the two going into the show, and no bad blood developed on the set. In other words, we’ll have to rely on the fights to keep us entertained this season. Never a good sign.

General fatigue: Master salesman Dana White is telling you to “sit back and watch, bitches” and “deal with it.” But how many times can you watch the same story unfold in the exact same way without losing interest? The debut of featherweights and bantamweights next season might add an additional hook — and if Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping are the coaches, you bet your ass we’ll be tuning in. But for right now, it’s just the same old product, and if you’re not already a Brock Lesnar superfan, there’s little reason to get excited.

Cagepotato Comments

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johnnyrottan- April 8, 2011 at 9:44 am
Dude this is because the UFC, can be promotional badasses in one hand and plain dumb in the other. Nobody wants to watch heavyweights train welterweights, people wanna see people get knocked the fuc out, not compressed against the fence or on the ground for 2-3 rounds, yes we get its a "chess match" but who the fuc is sittin at home watchen chess on ppv, or regular t.v. for that matter. The ratings wernt better becouse of Kimbo, it was because of the size of the competition. Everyone knows Kimbos the guy you dont piss off at a B.B.Q. or in prison. The cage is for the ones that have been doing this stuff when we where all watchin the N.F.L. thinkn whats ufc. also this Jon Jones stuff needs to be put to rest if he was that goog he'd bump up to heavyweight. again just sum more bull shit the ufc pulls, Give anyone his reach at that size and they will be fucn good. And on the last topic thats always floating around, who's the best fighter Frank Mir is by far the most talented heavy weight wrestler, dudes got the sickest gaurd ever and hes 245+, Anderson silva has already proven hes the best, nuff said on that. Not jon fucn jones. And Chuck liddel for puttin the sport on the map, he did for UFC what Stone Cold did for wrestling made us all wanna watch it. Thats why Dana treats him so good. Good luck on your retirement Chuck you deserve it. And Frank Mir you deserve Joe Rogans fucn job, if I have to hear he rocked him, hes hurt mike, he rocked em. Im gunna put him and Lenord Garcia and those lame ass judges who for sum reason always favor his crap ass fights, when he clearly gets his ass kiked in sum fucn cross hairs, Duce out homos!
KarmaAteMyCat- April 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Been here for a very long time. Welcome to the nation. You can refer to us as the Potato Nation brother cause that is what we are.
ExpectJesusBro- April 5, 2011 at 9:26 am
good to here a fellow Rochesterian is here in potato-land!
Ninja- April 5, 2011 at 3:35 am
TUF Season 14 Coached by KArmaatemyCat and Mikelphone.

But they have to Sing on an ISland first while someone photographs them.

KarmaAteMyCat- April 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
I went to RIT and I am from Western NY.
knucklesamitch- April 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

Law & Order: SVU. But I have a tivo, so I watch TUF on Saturday afternoons...After Cage Potato told me whether it was worth watching or not.
Dmonicideals- April 4, 2011 at 10:17 am
@Tai-pan: It's a really great book, too. Written by James Clavell(sp?). In my opinion naming after the book is alot cooler than off some lame bus. I'm a fan of his works, after all, how can you not read a book named "Shogun"?
RwilsonR- April 4, 2011 at 10:06 am
I've said this about TUF many times - it isn't the greatest thing ever, but it does have some free fights and helps promote the sport. And what the fuck else do you have to watch on Wednesday nights that makes you too good for it? If you are watching American Idol, Next Top Model, or Survivor: Redemption Island instead, then maybe this sport just isn't for you.
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 10:06 am
GENIUS... stupid no edit option
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 10:01 am
@knucklesamitch.. Would that make Shields look like a genious? or what!? and Poor Mr. Hendo, I bet his contract gets completely re-arranged now... HAHAHA
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 9:55 am
or did D&C give it away?
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 9:52 am
@karma... indeed. very near there, anyhow. are you stalking me?
knucklesamitch- April 4, 2011 at 9:42 am
New idea for TUF...make the Strikeforce guys earn their next Zuffa contract through the TUF show. I'd watch that.
NormalSizedNog- April 4, 2011 at 9:38 am
The guys haven't had much contact and barely speak the same language and its the first episode into the series so is it a surprise there's no bad blood? I think if Dos Santos keeps winning fights that will change pretty quick though. Brock doesn't seem like the type that handles losing well.
KarmaAteMyCat- April 4, 2011 at 9:35 am
Are you from Rochester NY?
Tai-Pan- April 4, 2011 at 9:34 am
Sadly no, technically I it's the title of a book I read a long time ago. Although they make a delicious sauce with the same name nowadays and casino tour bus ripoff sounds cooler than a book.
Get Off Me- April 4, 2011 at 9:27 am
I agree with din mak, I always looked forward to the first shows because it was chalked full of fighters fighting to get into the house.

Armfarmer hit the nail on the head, reality t.v. is so contrived and TUF is not exception.

I would really like to see the show used as a vehicle to promote a TUF finale, where the ultimate fighter is decided, the coaches fight, the rest of the fighters fight each other and the team with the most wins get paid out or something. There is nothing Final about the TUF finale, the coaches don't even fight on the card.
myklhoey- April 4, 2011 at 9:25 am
most mma fans love the fights, most love the sport, but to say that people dont have favert fighta's is nieve,
i dont like sports, but wen the bruins, celtics, redsoxs or patroits are in the play offs i watchem, tho i dont care for the sports,i want my home team to do good.
everyone has a favret something if there into what eva that somethin is in, be it golf, car racein wat eva,
so are you sayin karma ate my cat that you dont have favert fighta's,
and truthfully i think if therer was a frank mir or carwin instead of jds coachin i do think the show would have betta ratin's
ArmFarmer- April 4, 2011 at 9:19 am
I'm a fan of fights as opposed to one or two fighters and I still hate tuf.. well I shouldn't say I hate it.. I just don't care anymore. The lack of talent on most seasons is reason enough for me to not watch. They pick the most entertaining fighters instead of the best fighters imo.

I think it's good and bad for the sport. It brings in a broader range of viewers (wives/gf's like the drama aspects), but the street fights, drunken rages, and other nonsense that they manufacture by creating the situations, those are bad. Reinforcing the negative stereotypes the sport has been fighting since it's birth is never a good thing.

My biggest beef though.. tying up world titles for months. Let the number 10-5 ranked fighters take the coaching gigs, leave the title holders and top contenders out of it. If you are ranked in the top 3 of your division you should be exempt from tuf.
SnackDaddy- April 4, 2011 at 9:15 am
Danna White should be the new definition of "douche bag." He comes up with the most controversial coaches in order to sell his show (Rampage, KOS, Bisping, Lesnar), guys who are in no way good ambassadors of this sport, and all the time he'll talk shit about how disciplined you have to be to compete at this level, how much you have to sacrifice and basically how you should get down on your knees and suck his cock because he felt sorry for your broke ass and decided to give you a chance on his show. Fuck you, Danna White. What do you know about sacrifice? who made you the authority on this sport? You're a fucking jerk, that's what you are.
irish brawler- April 4, 2011 at 9:14 am
i agree with karma and slum. its all about the dream
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 9:10 am
i agree with Karma. Newspapers in PRINT are very qickly becoming obsolete. besides, the bigest one's print nothing but lies, misinterpreted info and old news, along with some advertising(this means you, Democrat and cronicle, and NY TIMES)

mikelphone- April 4, 2011 at 9:09 am
I never said you couldn't disagree with me.
Freedom of speech.

Tai-pan, it's something you would read.

I had Corn flakes....they were horrible, soggy and stale.

Future or reporting...Yeah the pantydroppers story eh?? That one needed to be posted for sure...............................
ExpectJesusBro- April 4, 2011 at 9:05 am
borrrring.... not impressed so far. i too don't like that they don't have to fight to get it the house. i think it will lead to even more bad matchups the the usual format. the coaches wont be fully able to tell who has what skill set other than the little they see in sparring/training.. and brock's "are you here to win, buddy?" questions had me cracking up! he is definitly not prepared. i hope JDS wins. i don't even want to watch this season that much but, unfortunatly, I'm sure i will be sucked into TV land at least a few times.
newotnek- April 4, 2011 at 9:02 am
The show is great for watching one or two fights a week that you have not seen before. The show is horrible other than that. It could be much better if they showed more of the training, like focusing on how to execute different submissions and striking techniques instead of training montages and drunken debauchery. I hated watching Junie Browning, WarMachine and Chris Leben in the house but still like to see them fight. Especially when they lost(except Leben...something about that kid makes me want to root for him)