The ratings struggle suffered during season fifteen of “The Ultimate Fighter” was evidently not an anomaly.
Season sixteen, which premiered Friday, is off to an even worse start.
That two-hour premiere episode averaged a mere 0.5 adults 18-49 rating with 947,000 viewers, which easily ranks as the worst performance ever by a “TUF” season premiere. And though some editions of “The Ultimate Fighter” have built ratings momentum as the season progressed, it seems highly unlikely the TUF16 ratings will turn around enough to make this season a success.
Since moving its cable programming from Spike TV to FX, UFC has largely suffered underwhelming ratings, and the new Friday timeslot for “TUF” and live “Fight Night” specials is certainly a contributory culprit. UFC President Dana White had previously intimated FX would move “TUF” away from Friday nights if it struggled in the ratings for a second consecutive season; based on the premiere number, it looks all but certain that the seventeenth season will be airing on a different night.