Thanks to a strong lead-in from college football, the UFC Sydney prelims on FS1 did their biggest numbers since February.
Saturday night’s UFC Sydney show, headlined by Fabricio Werdum’s five-round decision win over Marcin Tybura, averaged 815,000 viewers.
The number was almost identical to the 837,000 viewers the previous week for the more loaded show, UFC Norfolk, headlined by Dustin Poirier’s win over Anthony Pettis.
UFC Sydney also averaged 9,614 viewers streaming the show on FOX Sports GO and FOX Now. That number was down from the 13,891 average for the previous Saturday.
The show peaked at 987,000 viewers for the Alexander Volkanovski decision win over Shane Young that opened the main card.
UFC once again had tough competition from college football airing on ABC, FOX, ESPN and ESPN 2. But the UFC also benefited from a strong lead-in from FOX Sports 1’s college football coverage as a Penn State vs. Nebraska game that aired before the UFC Sydney prelims did 1,564,000 viewers.
The Penn State vs. Nebraska game ended at about 7:45 p.m., and the UFC pregame show, which started on FS2, had 739,000 viewers during that window, as compared to the 45,000 viewers watching the show on FS2 up until that point.
The UFC Sydney prelims, headlined by Ryan Benoit’s win over Ashkan Mokhtarian and with Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz as the only name fighters, averaged 775,000 viewers on television and 9,156 viewers streaming. The prelims, even despite going against college football competition, did the third-best number of 2017. That was also the highest prelims audience number since the February Fight Night that was headlined by Chan Sung Jung vs. Dennis Bermudez.
An interesting note on both shows was the audience split of men to women. Usually UFC will do between 70 percent and 78 percent male viewers in most demos. Saturday’s main card did 66 percent men in 18-49, but only 56 percent among 12-34. The prelims did 61 percent males in 18-49 and 54 percent males in 12-34.
The post-fight show did 321,000 viewers, down from 369,000 the week before, but that is still well above usual numbers.
Weigh-ins on Friday, live on FS2, did 43,000 viewers. A tape delayed replay on FS1 at 12:30 a.m. Eastern did 104,000 viewers.
Bellator ran a taped show from Tel Aviv, Israel on Friday night and did 444,000 viewers. That would be the second-lowest number for Bellator this year, but that isn’t a surprise given the main event featured Noad Lahat vs. Jeremiah Labiano, two fighters who had little name value after the Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus featherweight title fight fell through late. The prior week’s show did 575,000 viewers on average, and the difference, since it was also a taped show without major stars, would be the publicity out over Conor McGregor’s antics on that show.
Lahat vs. Labiano drew the peak rating of 578,000 viewers.