The final numbers for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 31 show were not nearly as impressive as the fast nationals indicated.
The UFC on FOX show from Milwaukee, headlined by Al Iaquinta’s five-round decision win over Kevin Lee averaged 1,828,000 viewers. a figure down 13 percent from last December’s show headlined by Rafael dos Anjos’ win over Robbie Lawler.
On the fast nationals, the show averaged 2,153,000 viewers, the best number for any UFC show on the fast national in two years. Only once previously in history has the fast national number not risen greatly in the final ratings, when figuring in West Coast viewership and the period past 10 p.m., when the highest rated part of the show takes place with the main event.
The fast nationals measure the top 55 metered markets, as opposed to the entire country. The other time when this happened was because of local market FOX stations preemptions of UFC for NFL preseason games that were higher rated in those markets. In this case, it meant that either there were preemptions, or higher rated programming on FOX West Coast stations that made the original UFC number artiifically high.
The show’s fell very close to the UFC on FOX 2018 average of 1,867,000 viewers. The original high rating didn’t seem to make sense given the card didn’t feature any major drawing cards. If anything, doing the 2018 average for this show would have, ahead of time, been considered a success.
However, even with the lower number, the UFC show still won the 8-10 p.m. time slot in every overall and male demo under 50, and even tied NBC in the women 18-49 demo, among broadcast networks. For television overall, UFC on FOX was the second highest rated show in the 18-49 demo on Saturday night, trailing only the Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns NFL game on the NFL Network that drew 7,292,000 viewers.
The show peaked at 2,402,000 viewers for the last rounds of Iaquinta vs. Lee. It was the third-highest main event audience on FOX this year among the five shows.
The main card averaged another 16,000 viewers for an average minute streaming on FOX streaming services.
The bad news is that this was an audience that was strictly watching the main event. The prelims, headlined by Zak Ottow’s win over Dwight Grant and with no major names, averaged 256,000 viewers on FS 1 between 5-8 p.m. Eastern and averaged another 5,784 viewers streaming. It was the lowest audience ever for FOX prelims when airing on FS 1. The previous time FOX prelims aired in that time slot on FS 1, the Jan. 27 show from Charlotte, the prelims averaged 566,000 viewers before a main card that did 1,770,000 viewers, a marked difference in the percentage of main card viewers watching the prelims.
The pre-fight show on FS 1 did 61,000 viewers and post-fight show did 123,000 viewers.
Bellator on Friday, headlined by
’s third lightweight title win over
, averaged 270,000 viewers, the fourth-lowest Bellator viewership on Paramount, or Spike. Bellator’s Saturday show was a DAZN streaming exclusive. DAZN doesn’t release any viewership figures. The number would have been lower than usual circumstances because of it starting at 10 p.m. ET on Friday night rather than the usual 9 p.m. ET, because the event came from Hawaii and the local time zone difference.
Combate Americas’ Copa Combate on Dec. 7 451,000 viewers between Spanish language stations Univision and Univision Deportes for a show that started at midnight on a Friday night. Combate beat Bellator’s show the next week while in a worse time slot. However, it did have the advantage of being on Univision, a much higher rated station than Paramount, and it also aired on two different stations.
Copa Combate was a one-night eight-man tournament with a $100,000 first prize with competitors coming from eight different countries, won by Andres Quintana of the U.S.
The show was a huge success on TV Azteca in Mexico, drawing 3,890,000 viewers.