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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter's Live Season Finale Draws Record Ratings
Despite a shaky second half of its season in the ratings, the live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 2 came through in the ratings with a huge 2.0 overall rating (the highest-rated live UFC broadcast in history) and an even more impressive 3.7 rating in the key demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males.

Much of the damage that was done to TUF's reputation as a ratings draw over the past several weeks will likely be erased by the huge ratings for the finale.

You can expect to see a big article comparing the Season One ratings to the Season Two ratings on this site in the coming days.

Other Thoughts on the Ultimate Finale Broadcast
-Regarding the 30 to 27 scoring of the Diego Sanchez vs. Nick Diaz fight, it's true that the fight was a lot closer than the score "30 to 27" appears to be, but you have to take it one round at a time in the scoring. Sanchez won the first round and the second round. The third round was extremely close and could have gone either way, although I would probably have to say that Sanchez won the third round if I had to pick. Sanchez wins regardless of the third round scoring; all the third round scoring does is determine whether it was a 29-28 victory or a 30-27 victory. In any case, it was a fantastic fight in which both fighters showed a lot of heart. The same can be said for Joe Stevenson vs. Luke Cummo, and also for Rashad Evans vs. Brad Imes.

-Regarding Nick Diaz' post-fight comments, I didn't have that much of a problem with what he said. He was understandably frustrated with his loss and knew he had been beaten. It would be particularly frustrating to have been so confident that you were going to take someone to school, only to lose a unanimous decision to that person. Diaz is still one of the top welterweights in the world. There's nothing wrong with what Diaz said in his post-fight interview, other than dropping the S-bomb, but fortunately the Spike TV censors were paying attention and they temporarily cut out the audio just before that part of the interview aired.

-As for whether Diego Sanchez vs. Nick Diaz was a Fight of the Year Candidate and whether the fact that it went to the judges' decision hurts its chances in that regard, I don't think going to a decision should make a difference in this kind of thinking. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar went to the judges' decision, and that was an all-time classic. Three different fights on the Ultimate Finale card went to decision and were all excellent fights. I don't think going to decision lessens how good a fight was in hindsight, although of course a particularly spectacular knockout or submission can't hurt a fight's perception either.

As far as the Sanchez vs. Diaz fight in particular, I do believe that this fight rose to the level of Fight of the Year candidate. Tons of heart and skill displayed by both men, and more world-class grappling exchanges packed into 15 minutes than I expected (and I expected a damn good fight). I wouldn't pick it to actually win Fight of the Year, but when you're thinking of the top five or ten fights of the year to call "Fight of the Year candidates," I think this is one of them.

-Regarding the three undercard fights that did not air as part of the Ultimate Finale broadcast, those three prelim fights will be on UFC Unleashed in the coming weeks. There would have been time to air some of them on tonight's broadcast under different circumstances, but three of the four main card bouts went to decision, and there was still a huge amount of stuff in between fights.

-Regarding the fact that there were four fights in a three-hour broadcast, that is just a question of pacing. There were approximately 48 minutes of commercials. That's not counting the "special sneak peak" at 50 Cent's movie, which was a separate deal sold on top of that in much the same way that the now-infamous Burger King "CoqRoq" ads were. That's a normal amount of advertising for a three-hour television broadcast. The question is how Zuffa chooses to space out the 132 minutes of broadcast time that they do have for a three-hour special.

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