Signing Brock Lesnar up as a coach for The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 looked to be a master-stroke for the UFC and Spike TV, but the early ratings for the show suggest otherwise.
After a mediocre start with an average of audience of 1.5 million tuning in for the season premiere, this week’s episode slipped to a disappointing 1.2 million, drawing a 1.0 household rating.
For the sake of comparison, last year’s TUF 12: GSP Vs Koscheck show drew 1.6 million to start, 1.7 million the following week, and held remarkably consistent all season long.
The ratings will undoubtedly be a concern for the UFC with Lesnar undoubtedly having been their No.1 draw in recent times. It should however be noted that Lesnar’s real strength lies in shifting PPV numbers, with several of his fights tipping over the one million barrier.
Therefore, while the promotion will undoubtedly be hoping that the ratings don’t fall any further, the real yardstick for success will be how many pay-per-view sales the eventual fight between Lesnar and rival coach Junior Dos Santos draws at UFC 131 in June.