Bellator MMA & the UFC rarely ever go head to head, but on a few occasions, the two promotions have clashed. This happened on Friday as Oklahoma played host to Bellator 189 and Las Vegas were the hosts for The Ultimate Fighter season 26 Finale. So who came out on top?
The real answer to that question? Well it’s no one, both shows performed poorly – with the UFC doing it’s worst ever rated FS1 show with just 501,000 viewers, whilst the prelims drew in an audience figure of 361,000 – This falls well behind the previous lowest figures set by a prelim card of 453,000.
So what is the problem? Both shows were headlined by women’s title fights – but this isn’t to say women aren’t a draw. Holly Holm’s headline fight against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on Fox 20 drew an audience share of 4,687,000 viewers, the most watch summer UFC fight since the UFC started airing on Fox in 2011.
The problem is star power, yes the UFC has had an entire season to build up the finale and it’s fighters, but the issue simply is not a whole lot of people tuned into TUF 26 to begin with – The tenth episode drew an audience of 158,000 viewers, it’s lowest-rated episode since the series began back in 2005. Whilst this season highest rated episode drew in 381,000 viewers, the opening episode drew in just 308,000 compare this to TUF 10 which featured the late Kimbo Slice, the premiere episode drew 4.1 million viewers, whilst the lowest rated episode of that season was 2.4 million viewers – This is a drastic drop in ratings within the 8 years between TUF 10 & TUF 26. Could this mean that The Ultimate Fighter has outstayed its welcome?
As for Bellator who’s headline was Julia Budd taking on Arlene Blencowe for the Women’s 145lb title, it is once again a case of just not enough star power to draw in the ratings. The fact that both shows were up against college basketball shows also didn’t help.
The UFC is currently in the negotiation stages of a new broadcast deal, there have been previous rumours of no longer having an exclusive deal with FOX, but instead to air on multiple networks, much in the same vein as the NFL or MLB – One thing for sure is these types of ratings can’t be good for the company, which has really been struggling in 2017.
Coming off such a great year in 2016, 2017 has been a lacklustre year for the UFC – No longer does the UFC has the star power it once possed, gone is Ronda Rousey, unlikely to ever return, Conor McGregor had THAT boxing fight and according to Dana White himself, will probably never fight in the UFC again, Jon Jones returned and was gone again faster than we could shout USADA and as for Brock Lesnar, well who knows what he’ll do next – The only saving grace for the UFC was the return of former PPV powerhouse Georges St-Pierre.
So what do you think of these ratings, has TUF finally outstayed its welcome, will the UFC produce new stars in 2018? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check back with MMAThread.com for all your latest MMA News.