Last week, Spike TV executives blamed the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup playoff final for keeping viewers away from its season premiere of "Fight Master," the new mixed martial arts (MMA) reality show operating under the Bellator MMA banner.
Looks like they were right.
"Fight Master" rebounded with episode two (recap here), drawing 545,000 eyeballs for a 0.4 rating, according to MMA Fighting. Certainly not the stuff of legend, but it's noteworthy simply because most programs lose viewers as the season progresses whereas Spike TV gained them.
Now it has to keep them.
Episode one (recap here) drew just 432,000 viewers and failed to capitalize on the lead-in from Bellator 96, featuring Muhammed Lawal vs. Seth Petruzelli and Renato Sobral vs. Jacob Noe, among others. It also didn't help that neither program had the benefit of TNA Impact Wrestling, which airs on Thursdays.
Expect episode three to serve as the tie-breaker.
Having evolved from Spike TV's original Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show (now on FX), 'Fight Master" features 32 welterweights battling for a spot in the next Bellator MMA Tournament, as well as a $100,000 prize under the tutelage of veteran coaches Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren.
The series airs every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on Spike TV.