Going against competition from both the Olympics and the NBA All-Star game, the UFC still did above average numbers, and Sage Northcutt proved to be the ratings star.
Sunday night’s UFC Austin show, headlined by Donald Cerrone’s first-round win over Yancy Medeiros, averaged 893,000 viewers — a healthy number given competition of both the Olympics and the NBA All-Star game.
An event on a similar Sunday last year with Derrick Lewis vs. Travis Browne headlining did 907,000 viewers, but with lesser sports competition.
Sunday’s UFC Austin show also did 13,959 viewers for an average minute streaming on digital services FOX Sports Go and FOX Now.
The most notable thing is that the show peaked early, with 1,078,000 viewers tuning in for the Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouti fight which opened up the main card, showing that even though he hasn’t lit the MMA world on fire, Northcutt remains a ratings draw.
Competition included the Winter Olympics doing 16,375,000 viewers on NBC and 1,714,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network head-to-head. The NBA All-Star game did 6,449,000 viewers on TNT.
UFC Austin’s prelims featured three first-round finishes, which makes for a more exciting show but less fight time, which is detrimental to ratings. The prelims averaged 675,000 viewers on television and 14,466 viewers streaming. They also featured no major stars, with Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Jared Gordon serving as the featured fight.
In 2017, main cards on FS1 averaged 795,412 viewers and prelims averaged 634,929.
The UFC Austin pre-fight show on FS1 did 131,000 viewers and the postfight show did 202,000 viewers.
Bellator’s Friday night show, built around a heavyweight tournament match that saw Matt Mitrone win a decision over fellow ex-UFC contender Roy Nelson, averaged 476,000 live viewers and another 79,000 watching via DVR over the next three days, totaling 555,000.
It also faced Olympic competition on NBC (16,579,000 viewers) and NBC Sports Network (2,339,000 viewers) as well as Friday night activities related to NBA All-Star weekend.
Including DVR numbers, the Mitrione vs. Nelson fight peaked at 775,000 viewers.
The number is down from 770,000 on Paramount and another 161,000 on CMT for the prior heavyweight tournament fight that saw Chael Sonnen win a decision over Quinton Jackson. The Sonnen vs. Jackson main event, including DVR numbers, peaked at 1.34 million viewers.