Midnight Mania! TUF 31 Debut Ratings Underwhelm, Fail To Reach Previous McGregor Highs

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Midnight Mania! TUF 31 Debut Ratings Underwhelm, Fail To Reach Previous McGregor Highs

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is an institution that refuses to die. Just last week, the 31st season debuted its first episode (check out the recap here). Little has changed in the format or general content of the program, which still feels like a remnant of Spike TV and 2008 … for better or worse.

Still, there are some silver linings. Namely, the coaches are a big part of the attraction, and UFC didn’t hold back, booking its biggest super star Conor McGregor opposite fan favorite Lightweight contender Michael Chandler. In addition, there’s the added element of prospects vs. veterans, which at least adds another layer of intrigue to the matchmaking by injecting some familiar UFC names into the mix like Timur Valiev and Jason Knight.

Is it working? The first ratings from the debut episode are in courtesy of MMA Fighting, who reported that 294,000 average viewers tuned in for the hour-long episode. Per the Nielsen ratings system, the series debut finished at No. 11 overall on cable on Tuesday night. As a result, it earned a .14 share in the 18-to-49 year old demographic.

This isn’t the first season of TUF that McGregor has coached. Back in 2015, McGregor coached season 22 opposite UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber. Comparatively, the TUF 22 season opener brought in 622,000 average viewers when it aired on Fox Sports 1.

Of course, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a perfect one-to-one comparison. The current season of TUF also airs on ESPN+, and apps do not report their viewership. In addition, it’s worth-mentioning that the current season has improved upon the ratings of the last two seasons, which also aired on both ESPN and ESPN+.

Check out the full recap for Episode 2 right HERE!


Good luck trying to argue with this math.

Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii has re-signed with PFL after leaving the promotion in 2019.

Wouldn’t it be fitting if Irene Aldana doesn’t make weight, and the already wounded UFC 289 card gets even more janky? I can feel it in the air.

A pair of scrappy Featherweight bookings:

Kai Kara-France’s jab never looked better than it did this weekend against Amir Albazi, and it paid off in several right hand connections.

If Georges St. Pierre finds a TikTok challenge difficult, it’s probably not easy!

Speaking of natural athletes …

Slips, rips, and KO clips

A great combination of savagery, aggression, and technique in this mauling:

In case anyone missed the most absurd knockout of 2023! Really, it’s a nice reminder that there’s always a new scenario to see in MMA.

Beautiful combinations up and down the body:

Random Land

I’m not endorsing it, but I’m impressed.

Midnight Music: Indie rock, 2006

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.