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Ratings Report: TUF 17, Bellator and UFC 158 Prelims All Yield Positive Returns
The latest ratings are back for some of the major mixed martial arts shows over the last week including the Ultimate Fighter, which continues to surge on its new night and time, along with solid returns from the latest Bellator offering.
Ultimate Fighter Ratings Increase
The Ultimate Fighter season 17 has found new life with its time slot on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., and the ratings are not only holding steady but even managing to increase as the season moves along.
The latest episode that featured the wild card bout between Bubba McDaniel and Kevin Casey resulted in a solid 1.303 million viewer average over the one-hour broadcast. The show also had a .7 rating in the ever important 18-49 year old demographic.
The ratings show a steady increase week after week for the past month as the Ultimate Fighter swings into full gear with the quarterfinals and semifinals all leading towards the finale show on April 13, which also airs on FX.
Here are the ratings for the last four episodes of the Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen:
Episode 5: 1.13 million average
Episode 6: 1.14 million average
Episode 7: 1.259 million average
Episode 8: 1.303 million average
The show also managed to get a nice nod from Entertainment Weekly last week hitting the top of their "Must Watch" list.
The next episode of the Ultimate Fighter airs on Tuesday night and features two quarterfinal matchups as Collin Hart faces Kelvin Gastelum and Luke Barnatt takes on Dylan Andrews.
UFC 158 Prelims Are a Hit
The success or failure of a pay-per-view isn't always reflected in the numbers that the preliminary broadcast does on FX. UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar was not a major show in terms of overall pay-per-view buys, but the preliminary broadcast on FX produced 1.897 million viewers, one of the highest numbers the promotion has ever had.
In contrast, UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche, which did somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million pay-per-view buys didn't get the same result for their preliminary show with only 1.267 million viewers.
UFC 158 however was a winner in every way, shape and form. The pay-per-view is expected to be the biggest of the year so far for the UFC, and the preliminary broadcast on FX also pulled in good ratings.
The broadcast averaged 1.579 million viewers, a very solid number overall, and while not as high as some past shows still a good lead in to the featured card on pay-per-view.
Thus far the UFC 156 prelims have pulled in the highest ratings for the UFC on FX. The next major card broadcasting on the network will be the Ultimate Fighter 17 finale on April 13.
Bellator Rebounds Against Tough Competition
Bellator returned to Spike TV after a one week hiatus for their latest show featuring the finals of their latest lightweight tournament with Dave Jansen battling Marcin Held in the main event.
The card averaged 748,000 viewers overall which is a slight increase from the previous card two weeks earlier that averaged 741,000 viewers.
While the increase isn't huge, it has to be noted that Bellator on Thursday nights airs at 10 p.m., which last week went head-to-head with the ever popular NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, that aired on several networks that evening.
The next Bellator show airs this Thursday night and features the finals of the next round of light heavyweight and lightweight tournaments.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report
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