The increase in ratings was only temporary.

The fifth episode of “The Ultimate Fighter 16” drew an average of 624,000 viewers to FX on Friday night, the smallest audience since the reality series began in 2005. Industry sources confirmed the ratings with Sherdog.com on Monday.

The season’s previous low came Sept. 28, when 775,000 viewers tuned in for Episode 3. Last week, ratings reached a high-water mark of 1.1 million viewers as the show was bolstered by the UFC on FX 5 broadcast that preceded it. Overall, “TUF 16” is averaging 864,000 viewers through five episodes.

The fifth installment of “TUF 16” saw Team Carwin member Igor Araujo take a majority decision triumph against Team Nelson’s Nic Herron-Webb in a first-round welterweight contest.

“The Ultimate Fighter” began airing on Spike in 2005 and remained on the network through last year. When the Ultimate Fighting Championship joined forces with Fox, the series moved to FX in 2012. “TUF 15” was the first iteration of the reality series to feature live fights at the end of each show, but the UFC has returned to the taped format for the current season.

Featuring former interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin and “TUF 10” winner Roy Nelson as coaches, “TUF 16” began with 32 welterweights vying for a six-figure UFC contract. Carwin and Nelson -- along with the 170-pound finalists -- will square off at the show’s finale on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas.

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