Three episodes into its season, "The Ultimate Fighter 16: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson" is still suffering from poor TV ratings, reportedly drawing 775,000 viewers on FX this past Friday.
MMA Junkie notes this as the lowest-rated episode in the series' history, continuing a downward trend that hasn't recovered since the debut of "The Ultimate Fighter: Live" on March 9th, 2012.
According to their data, viewership has continued to drop by significant amounts each episode:
- "The Ultimate Fighter 16" episode No. 1: 947,000 viewers
- "The Ultimate Fighter 16" episode No. 2: 872,000 viewers
- "The Ultimate Fighter 16" episode No. 3: 775,000 viewers
Ever since "TUF" debuted on FX, a condition of the UFC's seven-year TV deal with FOX, ratings have slowly regressed from its 1.2 million-viewer network premiere.
According to MMA Payout, the UFC averaged 1.84 million viewers during its last five seasons on Spike TV. "The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights" (also known as "TUF 10") was listed as the highest-rated season in that span with an average of 3.0 million viewers. By comparison, "TUF: Live" averaged 1.01 million during its run on FX.