[ads1]Many UFC fans have suggested this past season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC reality show’s 17 season, was the best yet. The season wrapped up with the TUF 17 Finale on Saturday, April 13, from Las Vegas and saw Team Sonnen’s Kelvin Gastelum become The Ultimate Fighter winner with a split decision victory over teammate Uriah Hall.
The crop of fighters coming off the show were the most talented we’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever. The TUF 17 Finale main card which aired live on FX brought in the second highest number of viewers of any UFC event since the promotion began their partnership with the network in January 2012.
With the TUF 17 Finale main card airing live on FX and bringing in the second highest number of viewers of any UFC event in FX, the preliminary card which broadcast live on FUEL TV delivered the network’s most-watched and highest rated UFC prelims of all time.
The show featured 269,000 total viewers and peaked with 347,000 total viewers and 209,000 M18-49 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research.
Compared to the TUF 16 FINALE Prelims on Saturday, December 14, this show was up +180% on total viewers (269,000 vs. 96,000) and +225% among M18-49 (169,000 vs. 52,000).
The record viewership for the TUF 17 FINALE fueled Saturday night to become the network’s fourth most-watched and fourth highest-rated prime time ever. Led by the live prelims, prime averaged 147,000 total viewers, up +220%, and a 0.43 M18-49 rating, up +291% in M18-49 compared to the April 2012 Saturday prime average.
The Ultimate Fighter will move to FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports’ newly minted multi-sport national cable channel, when it returns in September. The next installment, featuring UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Cat Zingano as coaches, also moves to Wednesday evening at 10:00 PM ET. FS1 launches Saturday, Aug. 17 and season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter® premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4 (10:00 PM ET).