Fight Master ratings momentum grounds to a halt

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After significant increases since the June 19 debut, Bellator's Fight Master changed formats and the results weren't promising, with a 25 percent drop in audience on July 17.

When Bellator announced details of its Fight Master reality show, the key component was that the fighters would get to choose their coaches.

Most would agree that the concept was successful, in large part to the personality and gamesmanship of the coaches themselves. Joe Warren and Frank Shamrock were the salesman, Randy Couture was laid-back and Greg Jackson was the coach with the worldwide reputation.

There were a number of surprises, none more than Warren, the guy it was feared nobody would choose, being the first to get four fighters on his team.

The show opened on June 19 on Spike to an anemic 432,000 viewers. But Spike replayed the show many times, and by July 10 had grown to 676,000 viewers live, and well over 800,000 if you include those who watched it on a DVR. The number was even more impressive because in skipping July 3 due to the holiday, there could have been a loss of momentum.

The concept ended last week with the four teams full. And on Wednesday night, it was all about the fights in the tournament.

That was very similar to Ultimate Fighter. If there was a difference, Bellator's reality show focused on the fights, and some training leading up to them. The in-house antics were largely done away with, at least partially because the Chris Lozano split decision win over Bryan Travers went into an overtime third round.

But ratings were down 25 percent from the prior week, doing only 505,000 viewers on a station that averages around 800,000 during prime time. It was the second lowest of the four episodes.

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