Sonnen a TUF 14 coach & other ideas to help the series

nullThe debut of The Ultimate Fighter 13 wasn’t quite the ratings boom that the UFC or MMA fans in general were expecting.

The debut of the new season pulled between 1.4 and 1.5 million viewers, which isn’t bad, but it still wasn’t what was expected given Brock Lesnar’s drawing ability.

And, there is already talk of who is going to coach the next season. ESPN is reporting that the UFC is targeting middleweights Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen.

While Sonnen is an interesting character who will be fun to watch, I don’t know that his trash talk will draw in anyone outside of the hardcore UFC fans. Bisping has already done the show and is somewhat of a villain in the UFC, but again, he isn’t much of a draw.

My guess is that the UFC is looking for controversy to increase ratings—Bisping and Sonnen will most likely do just that. But, if Brock Lesnar can’t bring fans into the series, maybe nobody can. On a side note, how many fans will begin to lose interest in the reality show before the next season even airs?

It isn’t surprising that a show may be running its course through 13 seasons, but I still think there are some options the UFC could explore to help the series and its longevity.

– During the UFC’s merger with the WEC, Dana White brought up the interest in some day adding a Flyweight Division (125 pounds). If that is the case, I think it would be in the UFC’s best interest to have a season with 14-to-16 flyweights vying to become the first UFC Flyweight Champion. Having a title at stake would draw in some of the best flyweights in the world. It might also help the reality show increase rating as fans familiarize themselves to this new weight class and get a chance to predict who the next flyweight champion will be. The fights would be exciting as the pace of each contest should be incredible. The season finale would feature a title bout televised free-of-charge. Who doesn’t like free?

– My favorite season of the Ultimate Fighter, outside of the first season, was season four. That was the season that featured former UFC fighters contending for a chance to fight for the title in their respective divisions. I would like to see the UFC re-visit that idea. I know having the winner get a title fight may be difficult, as divisions are much more competitive now than they were then, but seeing Matt Serra cash in and win the welterweight title was a big payoff for the UFC. I also think ratings would improve if the UFC brought in former fighters—fans would recognize these contestants and know their fighting style. Perhaps the UFC could take former Ultimate Fighter contestants and bring them back for a second chance type of season. I don’t know, just a thought.

– The UFC needs to also work on capitalizing on its coaches. They have been doing better with that lately, scoring Lesnar and now Sonnen. But, getting guys like Jon Jones or Anderson Silva on the show would be interesting to see. Fans like to see how guys who are at the elite-level prepare or handle themselves in the coaching roles. With so little known about Silva as a person outside of the octagon, it would benefit the UFC to get him in the weekly program.


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