Earlier this year, The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2 promised an excellent season featuring a stellar array of welterweight talent and, on its finale event, an equally promising heavyweight bout between Brazilian submission aces Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. However, when it came time for the second season to air, the season saw a large decrease in viewership. In contrast to TUF Brazil 2’s ratings, its finale show, better known as UFC on Fuel TV 10, scored the second-best ratings of anything aired on Fuel TV.

Still, while few can really balk at a season that did around a million viewers weekly in Brazil, and although the UFC denied reports of the series’ cancellation, the news of the rapid ratings decrease opened the doors for questions about whether the UFC’s international expansion efforts were not going as planned.

Few will ever complain about anything the UFC does in Brazil, but if people either tune out or simply don’t watch these efforts, it suggests that some sort of change must happen. What specific change would a fan or expert suggest, though?

For starters, if the UFC wants to give a larger U.S.-based push to its TUF efforts abroad, it could consider concentrating its efforts on providing these seasons with a more prominent outlet for U.S. broadcast. The promotion does its share of of well-composed commercial advertisements, social media mentions, press conferences, teleconferences and so on for the series, but outside of a few diehard fans, hardly a soul actually watches these shows and the American MMA media rarely bothers to provide show recaps or fight results in the same manner as it does for the U.S. editions of the series. In other words, the promotion needs to make its international offerings more accessible to its fan base in the United States.

Could the promotion at least hype it to the point where U.S. audiences and U.S.-based MMA media outlets care more about it? Absolutely. The promotion knows how to compose the type of advertisements that would spark a casual viewer’s curiosity about the UFC, but it still needs a channel on which to air it, if it chooses to air it simultaneously. With FX no longer carrying sports-related content and Speed set for a rebranding as Fox Sports 1, would the UFC turn to its new home for an outlet?

No, the promotion would not turn to Fox Sports 1, but it could turn to Fox Sports 2 for an outlet to air these international TUF seasons. Fox Sports 2, the rebranded Fuel TV, will serve as an extension of Fox Sports 1, airing its share of live fights and event coverage while also providing original programming for its audience. It would benefit U.S. audiences to see episodes of TUF Brazil and TUF Smashes join whichever programs the UFC already plans to include as part of its contributions to the rebranded station.

Choosing the new Fox Sports 2 as an outlet would make the likes TUF Brazil and TUF Smashes more important in the eyes of American viewers and MMA media. Fans of the sports world know how far Fox programming reaches, with millions of viewers enjoying their programming on a daily basis. Both of the new Fox Sports networks aim to reach 90 million homes, which means that if Fox Sports 2 needs something to fill out its primetime schedule, a live season of TUF Brazil or “The Smashes” easily gives hardcore fans a reason to tune in to the network, and with the way Fox programming gets advertised on “Big Fox,” casual fans would find themselves lending their curiosity and attention to the international sensation.

Also, remember that the finals of TUF Brazil 2 went down at UFC on Fuel TV 10, but certainly it did not prove as big a deal as some might make it, right? After all, the TUF Smashes “finale” took place at UFC on FX 6 in Australia, and, like UFC on Fuel TV 10, it saw a headliner featuring TUF coaches, in this case George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson. Neither event was renamed as “The Ultimate Fighter Finale” or anything similar, but while the only representatives of TUF Brazil 2 fought in the event’s co-headliner, it still left fans outside of Brazil to ask exactly how these guys wound up on the bill as a co-headliner.

In essence, it once did not seem like a big deal that the finale of a season of TUF took place on a card not advertised as a “TUF Finale.” Now, in an age where fans notice the sport’s efforts to break into the mainstream, fans not only want fights that make sense, but they also want to know about fighters before they get their moment to shine on the big stage of the UFC. This holds true in a sense with the upcoming “Smashes” season with Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, which promises to deliver a handful of new names that potentially stand to become household names as they develop their skills in the UFC. Again, though, if no one knows that the season exists, who will know or care about the fighters?

Hardcore fans might catch on to the season, but the UFC thrives on the support of the fans who don’t know much, if anything, about the fighters that hardcore fans hype to otherworldly realms. Therefore, something must change. Fox possesses the power to help the UFC accomplish the goal of reaching out to first-time viewers of MMA, and if the UFC wishes to keep TUF around for the foreseeable future, it would benefit greatly from considering Fox Sports 2 as an outlet to air the international version of the series.

Photo: TUF Winner Cezar Ferreira (L) locks up a guillotine (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)