At a time where the UFC’s metrics haven’t exactly been hot, this is a pleasant surprise:
Putting a top-10 middleweight against a TV show personality helped The Ultimate Fighter draw its biggest season-ending audience in two years.
Saturday’s live finale for the reality show’s Season 14 averaged 2.5 million viewers, Spike TV said Tuesday. The program peaked at 3.4 million viewers for the start of the main event between consensus No. 7 middleweight Michael “The Count” Bisping and Bully Beatdown host Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who were engaged in a heated war of words throughout the season as opposing coaches.
The program was the most-watched TUF finale since Season 10’s Dec. 5, 2009 broadcast. It also led basic cable channels on Saturday for viewership in mixed martial arts’ core demographic groups of men ages 18-to-34 and 18-to-49, Spike said.
So good numbers. Good. Not great. But definitely good. Good enough to keep Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller from losing his job? We’ll have to see. Gassing after the first round in a big fight like this isn’t just akin to going soft while banging the prom queen, it’s like accidentally spraying diarrhea all over the bed to boot. And Dana White isn’t done talking about how much he thinks Mayhem sucks:
“I still don’t know,” White said of Miller’s performance. “It was bad. To be honest, believe me, my Twitter has been blowing up with all the Mayhem fans blasting me, but facts are facts. It was the worst standup I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen worse standup. The guy’s been in the business for over 10 years. It looked like it was his first fight ever. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”
White said Miller’s issues in his third-round technical knockout loss go beyond ring rust or nerves and seem much more fundamental.
“Some of the punches that were thrown by Mayhem Miller in this fight, you could go to a girls’ Tae Bo class and see better form, better stand-up. It was embarrassing,” White said.
And Dana should know since he taught those Tae Bo classes.
Maybe this is the Mayhem Monkey in me talking, but it seemed to me like Miller was going for the big looping overhand shots – you know, the ones that worked so well for Dan Henderson? Yeah they looked awkward as he lunged in and threw them, but Bisping was having some trouble with them in the first, so who am I to criticize what works?
One thing that doesn’t seem to work is getting 5 minutes of actual fighting in over the past two years. Like many MMA ronin, Mayhem has suffered from an inconsistent fighting schedule that has led to the kind of rust you’d expect to see on shacks in Somalia. Whether he gets a chance to shake it off and show what he can really do is up to the UFC.