An astonishing eight million Brazilians watched the debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Brasil on Sunday.
Numbers provided by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics say the show peaked at around eight million, which was enough to increase the television network Globo’s audience share by 15 per cent above its usual for that timeslot.
Bearing in mind that Globo is the fourth-largest television network in the world, such a percentage increase is both significant and very impressive. It follows a pattern of the Brazilian market providing big numbers for UFC live events and television broadcasting.
TUF Brasil is the first edition of the long-running reality show to be staged outside of the US; season nine did feature a Team UK but was still shot on location in Las Vegas. For this Brazilian season, the coaches are Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, the latter of whom already enjoys some media profile in Brazil thanks to his model wife.
Pleasingly for the UFC, there were plenty of finishes in the 16 fights that featured in the feature-length season opener. 32 hopefuls were whittled down to 16 by way of elimination fights, with the winners being formed into teams in next weeks episode.
The season finalists will face off at UFC 147, which has been announced for a Rio de Janeiro soccer stadium on June 23. The overall winner will earn a ten-fight contract with a total value of $100,000, which in Brazil is absolutely life-changing money.