In 2012, the UFC put together the first-ever live season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, where all fights were broadcast live every Friday night on FX. But while the idea was a great one, it did have its flaws.

But first, let’s look at the high points. On the first episode, fight fans got to watch 16 fights in one night, which is something no one complained about. From spectacular knockouts to slick submissions, the opening night was great as far as action. Of course, there is room for improvement, but for the first live season, UFC President Dana White organized it pretty well.

During the fights, it would have been nice to get the coaches and White’s take on the fighters. Not play-by-play, but just saying, for example, “Yeah this kid has a good ground game,” or something of that nature.

As far as talent, this season provided some of the best we’ve seen in a long time. The UFC does a great job of bringing in top of the line guys to complete the 32-man cast. From the start of the show, there were many upsets, which just shows that anything can happen inside The Ultimate Fighter headquarters.

But the biggest complaint from the fans and media were the low ratings the show received.

On average, the show tallied around one million views (give or take) per episode, which probably isn’t what the UFC expected when the show began. But these ratings aren’t because of the show’s lack of popularity. It’s due to the fact that fans were just busy on Friday nights.

In the past, The Ultimate Fighter has aired on Wednesday nights. But the UFC decided to go with Friday nights for the live season, which isn’t exactly the best idea the promotion has made.

For a typical 18 to 40-year-old casual MMA fan, Friday night is a night to go out to have a drink, party, or just hang out. And with the UFC putting on events just about every Saturday, those casual fans could just stay at home on Saturday night to watch some fights. This has been talked about by many people and I, like others, think The Ultimate Fighter should return to its original Wednesday night slot.

Wednesday night is a church night for some people, but church is usually over by ten o’clock. The only issue surrounding this idea is if FX can fit the show in with their regular hit shows.

Aside from the ratings, the show has some room for improvement overall.

Personally, I think they should make each fight three rounds just like in the UFC, and do away with the sudden-death round. Ever since the show began, there has been heavy controversy surrounding judges’ decisions. Most of the time, if two fighters are evenly battling already, fans want to see a third round. But sometimes, the judges see it a different way and declare a winner after a second round. It may not happen, but I’d like to see the third round become mandatory.

Also, the duration in between rounds should be longer. These fighters aren’t able to go through a full training camp as they normally would, and it affects their performance as the fights go into the later rounds. With the commercial break only lasting 60 seconds, fighters barely get a breather.

Aside from those flaws, I thought the fifteen season of The Ultimate Fighter was solid for the most part. The UFC did a great job of profiling each of the 16 fighters, and also giving fans the opportunity to interact with their favorites fighters via Twitter. This season gets a solid B in my grade book, but expect the next season to be an A+.

Photo: Mike Chiesa hoists the Ultimate Fighter trophy (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.