Wednesday’s two-hour premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate” was the least-watched opener in the reality series’ eighteen-season history.
The premiere, which kicked off the first season to feature female competitors and female coaches, drew just 762,000 viewers with a 0.4 adults 18-49 rating.
That viewership total trails even that of the considerably lower-profile sixteenth season premiere, which averaged 947,000 in September 2012. That season featured Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin as coaches.
Wednesday’s TUF 18 premiere audience amounts to only half of that drawn by the TUF 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen premiere.
While the move FOX Sports 1, a new network that has yet to develop a meaningful following, likely played a role in the disappointing rating, it cannot shoulder all of the blame. Two weeks ago, the Fight Night card headlined by Chael Sonnen and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua drew 1.78 million viewers, proving that if the programming is compelling, UFC fans will find it.
Female bantamweight rivals Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate serve as opposing coaches on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighters.” Competitors include both male and female bantamweights.