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 show at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary was headlined by Dustin Poirier stopping Eddie Alvarez in round two, one of the wildest rounds in years, where both men were in trouble at various times before Poirier rallied to win. It was a rematch of an exciting UFC 211 fight and featured two competitors who have among the best track records at delivering crowd-pleasing fights.
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.
The good news is from a competition standpoint, UFC led FOX to first place in the key 18-49 demo with an 0.6 rating. But the other three networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, all had rerun programming in the time slot. FOX also won in 18-34 and dominated the networks in all younger male demos. But total viewers were the lowest of the four networks due to a low figure in the 50+ age group, which UFC traditionally doesn’t do well in.
In total viewers between 8 and 10 p.m., NBC led with 2,940,000, followed by CBS at 2,217,000 and ABC at 1,925,000.
The main event started just before 10 p.m. ET, so most of it was not measured, but as a two-round fight, as opposed to a longer fight, it would not grow as much or add viewers to the final total like a longer main event would.
Being so much lower than the Souza vs. Brunson show, which ended up doing 1,770,000 viewers in total, it is likely to fall under the January show’s final figure in what will be most likely the second-to-last UFC event on network television until 2024 at the earliest. At best it would top that figure slightly based on the longer main event than the January show.
July is much tougher to draw than January, but Alvarez vs. Poirier, augmented by Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens looked like a strong double-bill for action fans, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres was a match with strong strawweight division implications.
Aldo vs. Stephens promised big action and delivered, with both men hurting the other before Aldo finished Stephens late in round one, with the key blow being a brutal body shot.
Unlike the Souza vs. Brunson event, which was considered weak, this featured Alvarez, who has a strong history of great fights dating back more than a decade, Aldo, one of the greatest champions in UFC history, and Jedrzejczyk, a former champion who was considered one of the biggest stars in the sport in recent years.