It's not breaking news that this season's The Ultimate Fighter is having a hard time in the ratings department this season. There are many reasons why the show isn't rating well, but it is surprising to see many MMA fans say the show should be scrapped altogether.
The show isn't being scrapped, in fact Dana White stated late last week that the fall version of TUF is going to take place in Australia. Dubbed "The Smashes," it will play on the U.K. vs. Australia theme. The specific details on the format have yet to be announced, however.
The Ultimate Fighter is still as important to the growth of the UFC as it was during the show's infancy. If you've been a fan of MMA for the better part of the last decade, the effect the show has on the casual viewer may be hard to see.
The UFC should never get rid of TUF no matter how low the ratings get. They just need to keep reworking the format to keep it fresh and entertaining.
TUF: Live has no doubt been one of the least interesting TUF seasons to date. Team coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber don't produce the on-camera spark we've seen from coaches in past seasons. In addition, it appears the Friday night air time isn't working.
Personally, I love the idea of having a live UFC fight every Friday night and I hope Dana White keeps working the format. Unfortunately, taping the show during the week and quickly editing it together to align with the live fight broadcast is taking away from the show itself.
Part of the intrigue with TUF from the very beginning was seeing how the fighters interacted with each other in "the house." Viewers were able to attach themselves to a storyline of one of the fighters and become invested in how they did on the show and tournament.
It's really no different than any other show on television—viewers come back because they want to see their favorite character. Aside from a couple of the fighters, we've been stripped of that this season.
Years ago there was a push to reduce the amount of air time from what was happening inside the house. Instead, the focus became training sessions and the fights. I agreed with that move at first, but now it is evident we need to see it changed back to the old format.
The show seems redundant now. The viewer gets a recap of the previous episode, then a short segment on what is going on in the house, followed by what seems to be an excessive amount of commercials, and before you know it, it's fight time.
It will be interesting to see how the UFC handles the next season of TUF. Perhaps they will spend more time developing storylines and focusing less on the "live" aspect of the fights.
While TUF is still very important to the company, a different format needs to be developed for the show that will bring in new fans but also keep the interest of the current ones.
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