UFC Fight Night: Gaethje vs. Vick Draws Lowest Saturday Night Numbers in FS1 History
The latest UFC Fight Night card featuring Justin Gaethje vs. James Vick in the main event did historically bad ratings despite an action-packed ending to the card.
According to Nielsen, the fight card from Lincoln, Nebraska averaged just 596,000 viewers for the main card, which is now the lowest ratings in the history of UFC cards on Saturday night airing on FS1.
The previous low was set by a 2014 fight card headlined by Stipe Miocic against Fabio Maldonado that pulled an average of 609,000 viewers over the course of the main card (h/t MMAFighting).
The main event that ended in an emphatic knockout for Gaethje didn’t air until well past midnight on the east coast, which once again hurt the ratings as the most watched fight was the flyweight bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and John Moraga with 668,000 viewers watching that matchup earlier in the night.
This is the latest in a series of poor ratings performances from the UFC including the last card airing on FOX between Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez that averaged 1.67 million viewers, which was the lowest in series history for those cards as well.
The UFC did have some competition on Saturday night including a couple pre-season NFL games airing at the same time. Still, the UFC wasn’t going up against a ratings powerhouse like a rivalry fueled regular season college football game, which will typically air on a Saturday night as well.
The ratings for the latest UFC card come on the heels of the promotion signing a new five year deal to move to ESPN starting in 2019.
With only a few months remaining on the current deal with FOX, the UFC will shift to ESPN next year with part of their slate of cards airing on ESPN’s multitude of networks with others airing exclusively on the ESPN+ subscription service.
The next card up will be UFC 228 on pay-per-view with the prelims for that show airing on FX.