Two years ago, The Ultimate Fighter made its return, airing exclusively on ESPN+. Following a pair of seasons on the streaming service, ESPN announced that the next season (the 31st for the series) will air on ESPN proper, with episodes premiering at 10 PM each Tuesday, beginning on May 30th.
Per the release, the season will be 12 episodes long, and each will be available to stream on ESPN+ after the original airing.
The entire twelve episode season of The Ultimate Fighter 31 will air exclusively on ESPN, with one episode out each Tuesday beginning May 30 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Episodes will be available to stream on demand on ESPN+ at 11 p.m., following the conclusion of their network debut. In addition, UFC fans can re-watch all 30 previous seasons of TUF on ESPN+, the industry-leading sports streaming service.
Season 31 (I can’t believe they’re on season 31) will feature coaches Conor McGregor (who previously coached a season back in 2015) and Michael Chandler. The two will fight following the conclusion of the season, on a still to be announced date.
The Ultimate Fighter was a mainstay on Spike for years prior to the UFC’s move to Fox. The series then aired on FS1 for 11 seasons before going on hiatus after the UFC’s move to ESPN. It then returned to ESPN+ in the summer of 2021, returning for a 30th season last summer.
Shifting the series to ESPN is an interesting move, but it makes sense. Following ESPN’s cut back of live MLB games in their new TV deal, the company could use original programming during the summer months. The Ultimate Fighter may not have the appeal it once did, but new episodes (especially with McGregor as a coach) qualify as original content that could draw in more eyeballs than whatever else would be airing late on weeknights.