In case you haven’t heard, the 31st season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is back on television. Conor McGregor coaches opposite Michael Chandler in a show that pits prospects against former UFC fighters looking for a spot back on the roster. It’s all great in theory… until the latest UFC news indicates that most people still don’t care,
If not even McGregor and a good premise can save this show, nothing can, and it may be time for the UFC to replace the long-running show with something new entirely.
As well explore a variety of other UFC odds here to win!
Tough Break for TUF: Why the Show Is Fading
Getting good viewership on cable television can be a tough business now. Ratings for TUF have gradually dropped over the years. And even with McGregor returning, on top of TUF being on ESPN, the recent reports are not inspiring. In short: people still do not care about TUF even if the UFC’s biggest star is headlining it.
There are a lot of factors behind these low ratings. For one, McGregor has been inactive and is not the same fighter he once was. His last win in the UFC came in early 2020 against a now-retired Donald Cerrone. He hasn’t fought since 2021, and most UFC predictions are bearish on him coming back this year.
Another reason is that viewers, namely casual to moderate UFC fans, are just tired of the format. The Ultimate Fighter was a big hit in its early days and can be credited as the vehicle that made the UFC what it is now.
The fight that changed EVERYTHING!#OnThisDay in 2005, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar changed the course of UFC history with the TUF 1 Finale![ Watch it back in full with @UFCFightPass ] pic.twitter.com/3fmzyJoLAJ
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2023
But 18 years and 30 versions later and the show’s luster has long been lost. There is no novelty to it. Dana White’s Contender Series, which also airs every Tuesday on UFC Fight Pass, practically does what TUF is meant to do but focuses mainly on fights.
Since the Contender Series fights are also professional, fans can bet online on them, thus making them more popular with the “hardcore” fanbase.
Given its importance to the promotion’s history, the UFC may never retire TUF and will look for more ways to “spice” it up. But if it ever chooses to replace it, a few ideas can’t hurt.
Ideas People Will Hate for Next “TUF”
The fighting is only part of the Ultimate Fighter’s appeal. After all, what sells with cable TV is non-fighting stuff like drama and character. It’s the cringy stuff and the story idea pitches that no one would dare say out loud.
Get Paul Brothers to Do Reality TV Show
Some news showed that Logan Paul was doing MMA with Israel Adesanya and City Kickboxing. While Paul has mainly been known for his boxing exploits, he’s also grown to develop a following with his spectacular showings in the WWE (which is a sister promotion to the UFC now).
Using Paul, his brother Jake, or both as the main character/s, the UFC can have them do their own reality TV focused on MMA. Maybe it follows their training exploits or maybe they challenge a UFC fighter to a sparring session. Not only will fans tune in to see them potentially get owned, but they have enough star power to pull in more ratings than the recent TUF seasons.
UFC vs WWE
Speaking of WWE, Endeavor’s purchase of the WWE means doing cross-promotional events between the two is now easier than ever. While the UFC picks itself separately from the WWE, doing weekly reality TV segments between each brand’s stars shouldn’t hurt.
WWE superstars can challenge UFC fighters to skills competitions that may or may not be fighting-related. Who would win a 3-point shootout between Roman Reigns and Justin Gaethje? What if Valentina Shevchenko faced Rhea Ripley in a hotdog-eating contest?
These contents could make the stars more accessible to the mainstream audience while generating enough anticipation on each side. The sportsbook may even offer betting lines on hypothetical matchups if there is enough interest.