Bolstered by UFC on FX 5 serving as its opening act, “The Ultimate Fighter 16” drew a season-best 1.1 million viewers to FX for its fourth episode on Friday night.
That figure, which Sherdog.com confirmed with an industry source, marks a significant increase from the previous week’s 775,000 viewers who tuned in to watch Episode 3. It also topped the audiences for the season premiere (947,000 viewers) and second episode (872,000). By comparison, the fourth episode of “TUF 15” -- also known as “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” -- also pulled in 1.1 million viewers in March.
UFC on FX 5, which was headlined by a heavyweight bout between Antonio Silva and Travis Browne, was watched by 1.1 million people as well.
The fourth installment of “TUF 16” featured a first-round matchup between Team Carwin’s Bristol Marunde and Team Nelson’s Julian Lane, a bout Marunde won via unanimous decision.
“The Ultimate Fighter” began airing on Spike in 2005 and remained on the network through last year. When the Ultimate Fighting Championship joined forces with Fox, the series moved to FX in 2012. “TUF 15” was the first iteration of the reality series to feature live fights at the end of each show, but the UFC has returned to the taped format for the current season.
Featuring former interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin and “TUF 10” winner Roy Nelson as coaches, “TUF 16” began with 32 welterweights vying for a six-figure UFC contract. Carwin and Nelson -- along with the 170-pound finalists -- will square off at the show’s finale on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas.