The new season of The Ultimate Fighter debuted Wednesday night with a 27% ratings increase on last year's premiere, thanks in no small part to the presence of one Conor McGregor.
The two hour special averaged 622,000 viewers in its first airing in the States last night and peaked at 745,000. By comparison, season 21 amassed just an average of 490,000 last year.
Indeed this week's episode was the second most watched show among the American sports networks during its airing, with only the baseball derby of the Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels on ESPN bringing in more viewers (788,000).
One Russian born Irish fighter who unfortunately didn't make it past the first episode was McGregor's SBG teammate Artem Lobov. We chatted to him about what he learned from the experience: