The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 kicked off this week.

It was the most anticipated in recent memory for many fans– and it’s easy to see why.

The season’s coaches, Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, focuses their efforts on one class: the 115 lb women’s division. For the first time ever, the winner of the season tournament will be crowned a UFC champion. The show boasts more of any division’s top fighters than any in history.

It’s not a total departure. Pettis and Melendez will eventually fight one another, as in most TUF seasons past. (Pettis’ UFC Lightweight Championship will be on the line.)

But overall, as Jim Genia noted yesterday here at Caged Insider, “TUF 20 has tweaked the format and thrown us a curveball. That, plus the infinitely higher stakes and all-female slant on things, makes for some compelling television where before there was none.”

TUF 20, Jim said, just might kick ass.

And, it might.

Unfortunately, not in terms of ratings. (At least, not yet.)

Reports have the TUF opener, which saw strong advertising in FOX football broadcasts and elsewhere, at only 536,000 viewers. That’s actually down about 10% from TUF 19’s premiere, which didn’t receive the hype of TUF 20.

In fact, viewership was about half of a Cops rerun on Spike TV which aired at the same time. Ouch!

A full report,along with some relevant commentary, is available at

But, what say you, MMA fans? Will TUF 20 turn it around in due time? Or, is it time, as I asked last year here at Caged Insider, to put The Ultimate Fighter format to rest?