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A largely quiet start to Brock Lesnar’s debut on The Ultimate Fighter; draws 1.0 cable rating

By Zach Arnold | March 30, 2011

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On a night that turned out kind of interesting for MMA news (more on that later), Brock Lesnar’s debut on The Ultimate Fighter with Junior dos Santos largely proved to be free of emotional fireworks. I’m not sure where it sets the table for the rest of the season, but if show one is an indication of things to come then I suspect we’ll be seeing wins traded back and forth or Brock lose his mind with his guys losing (ala Ken Shamrock-style on the show). It’s pretty clear that Junior’s team isn’t hitting the skids.

The contrast between the two men was what you would expect. Junior pointed out in the obvious in saying that he values how someone performs in the cage for examining talent as opposed to Brock who focuses mostly on conditioning (and less on taking a punch, a preview that we saw during his ESPN media car wash.)

Brock was largely quiet and laid back. Erik Paulson is a great trainer but I’m not sure how things will play out during the season for him. JDS came across ridiculously relaxed throughout the show and incredibly likeable. The big question is whether or not casual fans stick with him or get bored because of his even-tempered style.

As for the first fight on the show (between JDS pick Shamar Bailey of Indianapolis and Lesnar pick Nordin Asrih), the less said the better. All that needs to be said is that Shamar used a lot of wrestling, pinned the guy down, and won by decision. He claimed he was holding back his best skills for later in the competition. That does not make for good television.

Onto more exciting news

Bad news (or good news depending on your point of view): Jon Fitch has reportedly withdrawn from his July 4th fight against BJ Penn due to a shoulder injury. Good news: Carlos Condit may step up as the replacement opponent. Initial reaction to a Penn/Condit fight — a lot of happy faces.

Bad news for Bellator: M-1’s telecast on Showtime last Friday from Virginia drew more eyeballs than Bellator’s MTV2 event last Saturday night (189,000 versus 150,000 viewers). The bad news for M-1 is that they aren’t back on Showtime until July 8th, but at least their ratings didn’t tank. UFC’s Spike show last Saturday night from Key Arena in Seattle, in comparison, did a 1.5 cable rating (2.4 million viewers). Dan Hardy was the ratings champ there. The obvious point to make regarding Bellator’s ratings on MTV2 is that the idea of moving the show around on Saturday nights and not having a consistent timeslot because you want to avoid running head-to-head against Zuffa is a bad idea. Yes, people who watch Bellator are aware of what is happening with the UFC. However, you can’t confuse your fans and make it a struggle for them to figure out when to tune in, how to find you on their DVR, so on and so forth. If accessing your show becomes any sort of challenge or requires any sort of effort (Americans can be lazy), it will hurt the ratings. If you’re a half-glass full person, I suppose you can say that Bellator retained 75% of their viewers despite the moving time slot.

I’m not a half-glass full person.

Half-glass full of fake urine bad news: Thiago Silva admits that he tried to alter his urine sample for a Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test that he had to take because of his UFC fight against Brandon Vera. Brandon, naturally, is rejoicing his good fortune.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “A largely quiet start to Brock Lesnar’s debut on The Ultimate Fighter; draws 1.0 cable rating”

  1. mr. roadblock says:

    Condit vs BJ is a much better fight! It’s on my list of BJ fights I’d like to see.

  2. Chromium says:

    Bellator is in a really bad way here. I wonder who Bjorn Rebney’s backers are. Most new businesses take some time to turn a profit, but they have to be getting impatient at this point. They’re either going to burn a lot of money or lost their MTV2 slot or both.

    I don’t think MTV2 is going to cancel them out of the blue for that rating, but someone is definitely losing money here. If they don’t turn things around, I think a season 5 is pretty questionable.

    However, I think we’ll get a better idea of their near-term ratings ceiling from the next show though, with Alvarez vs. Curran and some other recognizable names on the undercard.

    I do have to wonder though, if Bellator stops promoting fights, and puts Season 5 on indefinite hiatus, I wonder if they will hold their fighters’ contracts hostage like EliteXC did so they can figure out the best way to pay off debt.

  3. Tradition Rules says:

    Glad to see JDS being so laid back. That shows a great deal of confidence. he has always seemed so likable anyways. I know ZUFFA wants ratings for TUF, but personally, just once lets enjoy the show for being a little different this season.

    And,besides, most of the drama actually comes the guys in training, more so then the coaches, with a few exceptions (like Bisping).

  4. TheJudge says:

    Bad day for MMA. Instead of an anticipated competitive rematch, we get a fight between Penn, who I don’t like as a person, and the severely overrated Condit.

    To add insult to injury, we get a new season of TUF.

    • cutch says:

      You know you can just not watch it, I haven’t watched more than 2 minutes of it since TUF 5.

      • TheJudge says:

        And that’s what I do…but I still can say out loud I don’t like it, right? 🙂

      • Fluyid says:

        Hey! TUF 5 is also the season I checked out for good. I was fairly regular through the second season, came back for the comeback season and that was that. I caught maybe a couple of episodes on season 5 and that was that.

        I’ve since heard about guys jacking off on each other and the like. Has it REALLY gone that route or have I been misled? I’ve never even cared enough to find out if that’s really something that happened on there.

        • Light23 says:

          I watched an episode on ESPN Classic a while back that had Bader in it.

          One guy was bothered that somebody kept eating his sushi without asking, so he jerked off on it. This was then eaten.

  5. EJ says:

    If anyone is overated it’s BJ Penn, the way people still treat him after the way he was dominated by Edgar baffles me. Condit on the other hand is actually underated and we haven’t even seen the best of him since he came to the UFC. Condit is a killer and if the UFC makes this match, I predict he’ll smash BJ and send him into retirement which Fitch nearly did if the judges hadn’t saved him. Best thing about Condit is that he’s a guy who fights anyone and brings it in the cage everytime and with a win would make a very interesting challenger for GSP’s belt.

    • Light23 says:

      BJ is overrated? He nearly beat and went to a draw with the MMA community’s “no. 2 welterweight” darling?

      How can he be overrated yet at the same skill level as Jon Fitch?

      Carlos can definitely win, but this fight is 70/30 in favour of Penn.

      • EJ says:

        That’s where we disagree I thought Fitch beat Penn convincingly and was shocked at the draw result.

        You saw a broken and beaten Penn at the end of that fight, even his interview said he saw the writting on the wall. If it wasn’t for the gift draw I honestly believe that BJ would be announcing his retirement from mma.

        Yet when some people talk about him they still refer to him as the unbeatable LW before Frankie Edgar put that myth away.

        I think Condit will finish what Fitch started, like I said we haven’t seen the best of Condit yet which is scary.

  6. The Gaijin says:

    “If accessing your show becomes any sort of challenge or requires any sort of effort (Americans can be lazy)…”

    Oh yes indeed. Ahhh the mid-west…

  7. The Gaijin says:

    Just read a few rumblings (though they have been flatly denied by M-1) that Fedor was cut loose from his SF contract…

    • EJ says:

      I’m curious would that be even possible, I know the UFC contracts have language in them that allows them to cut fighters whenever they want.

      But i’ve never really heard anyone get cut from Strikeforce unless it was on the last fight of their contract.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Yeah that was my thinking as well – it didn’t seem to be something that happened at all with Strikeforce – and when the acquisition first went down I said that I highly, highly doubted that M-1 would have allowed that to be in Fedor’s contract at all even if it were a standard SF fighter contract term (e.g. he’d at minimum be able to fight out the contracted # of fights, aside from their constant renegotiating tactics).

  8. klown says:

    I sincerely hope Vera makes the best of his second chance. Even in the Silva fight, he showed brief hints of what could be. Good luck to him.

  9. The Gaijin says:

    A 1.0 rating?!? Seriously…even after the big media push by Lesnar…that’s a bit troubling.

    I would have figured that even as tired as people are at seeing mostly mid-level regional fighters ingest each others bodily fluids and get sh*tfaced, they would pop a sizeable number with Brock.

    • edub says:

      Time for TUF to go. Buyout Bellator, and get all the guys who enter their tourneys to live in a house together. Make the season last almost a year with the tourney bouts being in real time. Not sure if it would work, but for a show like this to get these crappy ratings with Brock proves less and less people are watching.


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