The final ratings are in for both UFC Halifax and Bellator 172.
MMA fans were treated to a doubleheader of major events last weekend, with Bellator 172 on Saturday, followed by UFC Halifax on Sunday. Unfortunately for Bellator 172, it lost its big main event between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione just hours before the start of the main card. Bellator MMA was clearly expecting huge ratings on Spike, but even with the unexpected cancellation of the Fedor fight, this event fared decently in terms of viewership. The overnight mark was 807,000 viewers (873,000 for DVR +3) and had a peak of 1.05 million viewers (1.2 million for DVR +3) for Patricky Freire’s knockout win over Josh Thomson in the replacement headliner.
As for UFC Halifax (AKA UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Browne), the rare Sunday show on FS1 averaged 907,000 viewers. The peak rating was 1,019,000 viewers for the co-main event between Johny Hendricks and Hector Lombard. Both events went up against NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, with Bellator going head-to-head with the Skills Competition, while the UFC dealt with the actual All-Star Game. Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting has more details:
The UFC show went against the NBA All-Star Game, which did 6,513,000 viewers. Bellator had similar competition, going against the All-Star Saturday night activities, which did 5,627,000 viewers, and Bellator also had competition from NASCAR on FS 1 and college basketball on ESPN.
The viewership of the UFC and Bellator shows from a demographic standpoint were remarkably similar. Bellator had slightly more teenage viewers. The two shows did almost identical numbers in 18-34 viewers, while UFC had a small lead in viewers 35 and older.
In the 18-49 key demo, the UFC audience was 67 percent men while Bellator’s was 62 percent men, which is a higher percentage of women viewers than MMA events usually get.
All three of Bellator’s shows in 2017 have peaked at over 1 million viewers (although Friday night’s tape-delayed card from Belfast is not likely to extend that streak). It’s a good start to the year after a 9% decline in ratings in 2016. UFC Halifax is the first Fight Night on FS1 to fail to average 1 million for the main card, but 907,000 is still a respectable number, nevertheless. The next UFC on FS1 show will be on Saturday, March 11th, with a main event of Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum in Fortaleza, Brazil.