Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen: Will This Move Save the TUF Franchise?

Mark PareCorrespondent IIOctober 20, 2012

NEW YORK - MARCH 06:   UFC president Dana White signs autographs for fans after a press conference at Radio City Music Hall on March 06, 2012 in New York City.  UFC announced that their third event on the FOX network will take place on Saturday, May 5 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

When browsing around my preferred search engine for The Ultimate Fighter ratings, all that was in sight was "new low" and "ratings continue to plummet," among other things.

The numbers tell an abysmal tale of lost viewers with the move from Spike TV to FX. As broken down on, TUF  lost almost half a million viewers (33 percent) on average from Seasons 13 to 14, and then lost an additional 34 percent in Season 15.

TUF  needed a spice-up and UFC President Dana White needed to do something, so he called in his big guns, arguably the two most outspoken fighters in the company, to become coaches.

Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will fight in April, but for six weeks they will be mentoring up-and-coming mixed martial artists trying to break into the UFC.

A lot of factors come into a season coached by Jones and Sonnen.

Jones is a young phenom so a lot of the guys will look up to him, and the younger ones could relate to him a bit more. Plus, Greg Jackson could be making some appearances (not confirmed, speculation on my part) and he will enjoy fueling his rivalry with Sonnen as well.

This could be a straight matchup of Jackson's MMA and Team Quest.

Sonnen will probably bring an entourage of guys to help him in training the TUF  combatants. How about a Yushin Okami, or a Dan Henderson?

Sonnen is also a world-class wrestler himself and will be more than happy to pass on his knowledge to others.

Anyway, other than all of that, the important aspect is that Sonnen is not afraid to speak his mind and holds nothing back.

Jones is a young stud that won't back down from anyone trash-talking him.

It is bound to be a can't-miss season, but we will have to see how the Shane Carwin/Roy Nelson season goes ratings-wise.

The drawing power of both Jones and Sonnen would be enough to keep people watching, but with fewer people watching FX than Spike, it left TUF  almost dead in the water; it's keeping afloat with a great history.

It's hard to say if coaches will make a difference in ratings next season, but it would be nice to see that new season on a new channel like FOX.

What do you think?


Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter, and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.