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TUF ratings

Here’s the straight goods on Wednesday’s TUF ratings, courtesy of MMA Convert:

In case you haven’t heard, last night’s ratings were huge. 6.1 million people tuned into watch the final 15 minutes of the show, which is just below the 6.5 million total viewers Kimbo drew on CBS against James Thompson, and Spike isn’t available in nearly as many homes as CBS. It also pulled a 6.81 rating in the M18-35 demo and  a 5.43 in the M18-49 demo.

Of course, what do numbers mean? For most of us we have no idea what 6.1 million represents versus 3 million versus 12 million. So here’s some factual distinctions to help you put this all in perspective:

  • Kimbo / Nelson is now the fourth most watched MMA fight in the history of North America
  • It also go the highest ‘household’ rating a mixed martial arts show has ever done in America
  • It rubbed shoulders with some pretty big network TV shows, coming in just after the Jay Leno Show.
  • The only program to outdraw it in that oh so coveted Men 18-35 demographic was football on ESPN.
  • It nearly beat out the Thompson / Slice EliteXC fight on CBS
  • It pulled a better rating than WWE RAw, which is apparently a big deal.
  • The replay at 11pm drew more viewers than most new episodes of the show.

So there you go, everyone is extra happy because TUF did so well. I still don’t know exactly how much viewer value is gained from showing off such a terrible fight – how many people walked away from that thinking “Kimbo stinks and so does ultimate fighting”? But you can’t deny it was worth it when you look at the big picture – how sore can people be over the long run about watching a shitty 10 minute fight? And numbers like this are another big step towards getting the UFC on a proper network. Kimbo might end up being a somewhat embarrassing catalyst for major UFC growth, but it’s not like he’s the first unskilled guy on TUF or the first dude with no ground game to step into the Octagon.