Right after the Zingano / Tate scrap ended, they had a bunch of promos with Cat primed and ready to roll promoting the next season of the Ultimate Fighter. And the show’s new home: FOX Sports 1. Here’s Dana White talking about it:
“I’m very excited. I want to thank everybody over at FX for all the support they’ve given us since we’ve come to FOX. For all the hard work everybody’s put in over there to get the UFC and The Ultimate Fighter to where it is today on FX, I really appreciate it. And I’m very excited to be moving to FOX Sports 1. I think the crew that works over there and the plans they have for this network, it’s going to be awesome, and we’re very excited to be part of it.”
A positive spin but make no mistake, moving from FX to FOX Sports 1 is a demotion. The UFC recognizes their role in the FOX organization, and right now a big part of that is helping the media company shore up ratings on its developing networks. They’ve worked miracles for the FUEL network and now it’s FOX Sports 1′s turn to get some o’ dat male 18-34 demographic magic the UFC is so effective at weaving.
Unfortunately, this might result in less overall eyeballs catching the show. Normally that wouldn’t matter too much to me but this season is different – it carries with it the torch of Women’s MMA. Relegating the show to a network most people aren’t even sure they have isn’t likely to result in a Cinderella season with record breaking ratings.
Maybe I was foolish to think that could have happened before, but hey … Ronda Rousey. A revitalized TUF format. Men and women living in the TUF house. Those are some potent ingredients that could have resulted in the show becoming a big hit. Can it still succeed like that tucked away on a network that doesn’t even technically exist yet?