Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Can Boost TUF Ratings?

Despite awesome fights, dynamic story lines and being "live," Ultimate Fighter 15 scored the lowest ratings after moving to FX.  The 12th episode came in with 875,000 viewers and the 11th episode drew 821,000, the two worst totals in series history.  So, what can be done to perk up the ratings?  TUF: Comebacks - USA v. World on Wednesday Nights, winner gets $100,000!  Here are some changes I would make:

Move back to Wednesdays

The easiest change would be to moving the series back to Wednesday nights.   The average guy is sitting around Wednesday night with nothing to watch besides the occasional 6 episode run of South Park.  That same South Park episode is replayed at 11 PM.  Friday night usually means a night out for many fans, and while bars love playing UFC PPV's, they aren't going to tune in for TUF.

Bigger Prize

Lay out a $100,000 bonus if you win the show.  That will help you attract bigger named talent.  The biggest prize for current TUF'ers is publicity.  The fighters make $8,000 to show and $16,000 to win to start upon entering the UFC, usually with an escalating pay grade.  Zuffa recently kicked in bonuses for Fight of the Show, KO of the Show and Submission of the Show.  While that is fine and dandy, a fighter entering the UFC through the normal route typically makes $8-12K to show and $16-24K to start.  They also can earn the same bonuses.  What incentive did emerging stars Michael McDonald and Rory MacDonald have to give TUF a try?

Go Worldwide for Talent

The next change would have to be getting more talent in untapped markets.  Last time I checked, MMA fans are able to read closed captioning.  A TUF: USA v. World series could be very intriguing.  Have 16 guys from Japan, Korea, Brazil, Canada and the UK try out for a team of 8.  How great would it have been if Charles Oliviera was on TUF?  He just smoked TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins.

Another Season With Heavyweights

The biggest draw for the UFC and TUF have been heavyweights.  TUF 10 featured heavyweights, featuring Kimbo Silce, Roy Nelson, Brendan Schaub, Matt "Meathead" Mitrione and Marcus "Big Baby" Jones producing steller ratings.  The Heavyweight division dominated at UFC 146, as it is generally regarded as the most entertaining card of 2012 so far.  The division currently has the least talent as well, only having 29 current fighters on the UFC roster.

Another TUF Comebacks Season

TUF 4 churned Matt Serra who pulled off one of the largest upsets in UFC history defeating Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title.  What draws more than fighters with name recognition?  Nothing!  If the UFC can land some big names, the ratings will return.


The main reason the NCAA basketball tournament is such a hit is the brackets.  Since TUF is an MMA tournament, why not have the fighters seeded and placed in fillable brackets?  We could fill out our brackets on, have pools with friends, and so forth.  The UFC could capitalize on fans wanting to watch to see if their picks win and how their bracket shakes out.  

What Does it All Mean?  TUF Comebacks- USA v. World!

Move TUF back to Wednesdays and put $100,000 for the winner of each tournament.  Have one bracket of heavyweights, one bracket at 170.  Here is potential cast list:

HW - Team USA

Tim Sylvia (30-7)- Former UFC Champ 
Heath Herring (28-14)- Former Pride star 
Todd Duffee (7-2)- 7 second KO in the UFC
Jeff Monson (45-13)- former title contender
Joey Beltran (14-7)- 3 UFC wins
Eddie Sanchez (13-6)
Chris Tuchscherer (21-4)
Wild Card- Tank Abbott (10-14)- 8 UFC wins

HW - Team World

Andrei Arlovski (17-9) - Belarus- Former UFC Champ
Pedro Rizzo (19-9)- Brazil- Former UFC Champ
Rolles Gracie (6-1)- Brazil
Marcio Cruz (7-4)- Brazil
Soa Palelei (17-3)- Australia
Gilbert Yvel (38-16)- Holland
Tim Hague (14-6)- Canada
Wild Card- Semmy Schilt (26-14)- Holland- K-1 Legend

WW - Team USA

Karo Parisyan (20-8)- 8 UFC wins
Gerald Harris (21-4)- 4 fight win streak
Ben Saunders (13-5)- 4 UFC wins
Marcus Davis (21-9)- 9 UFC wins
John Howard (16-7)- 4 UFC wins
Frank Trigg (21-9)- Former title challenger
Tamdan McCrory (13-5)- 3 UFC wins
Wild Card- Nate Marquardt (31-10)- Former title challenger, now with SF

WW - Team World

Paul Daley (29-12) - UK- Former title challenger
Jonathan Goulet (23-12) - Canada
Yoshiyuki Yoshida (14-6)- Japan- 3 fight win streak
Keita Nakamura (24-5)- Japan- 7-1 in last 8 fights
Ryo Chonan (20-13)- Japan
Roan Carneiro (13-5)- Brazil
Jorge Patino (27-13)- Brazil
Wild Card- Carlos Newton (16-14)- Canada- Former UFC Champ


Anonymous said...

Can Sylvia make 265? He's been around 300 for his last few fights I think.


Yeah, I've got doubts that he could make 265, but Sylvia has been begging Dana White for a chance to come back to the UFC.

Anonymous said...

They should have Steven Seagal for a coach.