Wednesday night’s TUF Nations Finale main card was watched by an average of 641,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, with the prelims doing 263,000 viewers.
In general terms that’s a fairly low numbers for a Live UFC event on FS1, though it’s actually up compared to the last Wednesday night card the UFC put on, UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold Vs Philippou in January, though only by 12,000 viewers.
Outside of the headline fight between Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy this wasn’t a strong main card, and wasn’t helped by The fact that the TUF Nations series had been consistently pulling low numbers, so there wasn’t any real interest in the two finals.
There was a somewhat curious balance to the card as there were actually some notable bouts in the prelims, including potentially main card worthy match-ups like KJ Noons Vs Sam Stout and Sarah Kaufman Vs Leslie Smith for instance, but being placed in an early timeslot on a Wednesday card meant they didn’t have much of an impact.
Meanwhile, the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 19 aired directly after the TUF Nations Finale card ended, but that didn’t appear to give it a ratings boost, with an average of just 591,000 viewers tuning in for the show.
That’s down sharply from the premiere of TUF 18 on FS1 last year which drew 762,000 viewers, so that’ll be a concern for the UFC and FOX going forward since the ratings tend to slide after the season opener.
TUF 19 features BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar as coaches, a pairing that’s unlikely to spark off a ratings grabbing rivalry on-set, and with notable lack of publicity heading into the season this could end up being the lowest rated ‘main’ TUF show to date.
That’s not surprising as TUF’s ratings have been in decline for some time, and the fact that there’s now more editions of the show than ever (including TUF Nations coming to a conclusion and TUF Brazil 3 getting underway on Fight Pass) will inevitably lead to viewer fatigue and apathy.