We’re counting down the final months before the UFC leaves FOX and heads over to ESPN. While UFC on FOX 30 was a great card on paper and turned out some spectacular moments from winners Dustin Poirier and Jose Aldo, the early viewership totals are far from encouraging.
MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has the details:
Despite having what promised to be two of the year’s wildest fights, and delivering on the promise, the television audience wasn’t there for Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 30.
The show did only 1,461,000 viewers on the fast nationals, the lowest number in the history of the show.
The previous series low was 1,593,000 for the fast nationals for the January show in which Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza stopped Derek Brunson in the first round.
The number was an 11 percent drop from last year’s 1,640,000 fast national number for the show headlined by Chris Weidman’s win over Kelvin Gastelum, a number that was at the time the lowest in UFC on FOX’s history.
The fast national number measures only the 8-10 p.m. time slot, and would only measure the UFC in the Eastern, Central and Mountain time zone. It would not measure the Pacific time zone fight coverage, but measure whatever the local programming that was airing in the time slot. The final numbers should come out on Monday or Tuesday and will be higher.
If there’s any good news, it’s that they did lead all four major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) in the 18-49 demographic, although the other three competitors were also airing reruns for programming, so it’s not as if they were up against stiff competition.
While it may be easy to note that the peak of summertime could lead to a decrease in viewers, one of the highest UFC on FOX numbers came a mere two years ago, when Holly Holm fought Valentina Shevchenko.
Perhaps the turnaround for the UFC’s television ratings will start once the ESPN deal kicks in for 2019. It should be noted that most of the non-PPV cards will be on ESPN+, while the current “big FOX” cards are essentially going to be the ESPN-televised shows moving forward.