UFC on Fuel 1: 217,000 viewers

February 16, 2012

TV Sports Ratings tweeted the ratings for UFC on Fuel 1 Wednesday night scored 217,000 viewers. It was the UFC’s first live event on Fuel TV.

The ratings come during Fuel TV’s free preview week which should have helped with the number. In comparison, UFC’s first two prelims shows on Fuel grabbed 148K and 144K viewers. (h/t MMA Supremacy).

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings for a live, mid-week fight card. Certainly, the free preview helped out but the numbers can be seen as promising for the UFC on Fuel. The good numbers come despite the Spike TV counter-programming and the fact that some people are still programmed to think that live UFC events are on Spike.

TUF 13 Finale – 7p

P2+:  694,000 viewers

UFC Unleashed – 10p

P2+:  661,000 viewers

11 Responses to “UFC on Fuel 1: 217,000 viewers”

  1. The Fight Nerd | Friday Link Party – February 17, 2012 on February 17th, 2012 4:27 AM

    […] MMA Payout brings the viewing numbers of Fuel’s mid-week UFC card. […]

  2. Jose Mendoza on February 17th, 2012 10:31 AM

    Rating Notes:

    – FOX Properties:
    UFC on FX Debut – 1.3M
    UFC on Fuel Debut – 217K

    – Spike TV: Last UFN on Spike TV
    UFN 25: Shields vs Ellenberger – 1.8M

    – UFC on Fuel TV live event viewership was around 33% of Spike TV’s counter programming viewership showing taped bouts.

    – UFC on Fuel TV Peaked with 315K viewers.

  3. Sampson Simpson on February 17th, 2012 11:17 AM

    This outlines the problems with the FOX deal.

    4 network shows a year won’t offset the consistent under exposure of this sub-par product to the masses REGULARLY. Fuel TV will kill the product, FX is a side-ways move from Spike and FOX 4 times a year won’t do anything to build the brand.

    Between this dilemna and the PPV’s, the UFC is in trouble.

  4. BrainSmasher on February 17th, 2012 3:30 PM

    Sampson you clealry have no idea what you are talking about. Sometimes you really reach with your anti mma bias. Fuel was never meant to compete with Spike. It is a bonus to make programming availible to the UFC fan base and maybe build it into something. The UFC has always wanted to be on network tv. It is what MMA fans have waited for since Zuffa took over in 2001. They have that with Fox. Everything Spike TV offered, FX offers. The difference is the UFC gets 4 Fox events starting out, and unlimited access to Fuel TV to show anything they want rather than use facebook. The Fox deal is an improvement in every aspect. Not to mention the UFC makes 3 times more per year for their tv contract than they would with Spike. It also allows them to reach new customers who frequent Fox and FX. Any fans they made at Spike still follow the sport. Now they get to go after new fans. Dont forget Spike is still drawing UFC fans with UFC content. So it is still eyes on the UFC product even if it hurts Fox. But Spike wont be able to do that forever. Once they lose the UFC library they will lose some of those viewers back to Fox UFC programs. End the end the UFC has mor eyes on their programs now more than ever even before you count the FOX events.

  5. Sampson Simpson on February 17th, 2012 5:52 PM

    Fox 4 times a year with non-entertaining events will do nothing to grow the brand.

    FX is a sideways move from Spike.

    FuelTV is a move backwards that only helps FOX.

    By 2013, Bellator will have money and a established MMA platform in Spike in which to showcase their product.

    UFC will face some stiff competition and unless they get a monthly show on FOX, I cannot fathom how this will end up well for them.

  6. Weezy on February 17th, 2012 7:11 PM

    We can all speculate whether the several events per year on FUEL TV are a good idea or not, but the wildcard in all of this is that the FOX family of networks has offered a price that Zuffa deems worth their while. They were making $35 million per year (an admittedly nice price) for an equal volume of events and telecasts in their partnership with SPIKE. FOX comes along and asks for basically the same volume of events but offers to pay approximately $100 million per year. That pretty much made the decision a no-brainer, especially when you consider that their aggregate number of viewers reached with this deal is higher. And something tells me that if someone else, hypothetically, came along and offered three times that amount and asked that Zuffa air a few shows a year on C-SPAN, they’d do it. Like Floyd Mayweather says: If it makes dollars, it makes sense. As in all business scenarios, however, we’ll see how it plays out. Will the move away from SPIKE mak Zuffa suffer or will it help? Time will tell.

  7. Diego on February 18th, 2012 5:14 PM


    I don’t know how the Fox deal will turn out, but for you to call a fight like Sanchez-Ellenberger sub-par is absurd. BS is right, you’re reaching with knee-jerk anti-MMA sentiment. For a Wednesday card the UFC put on a great show. It was at least on par with the very best cards Bellator has put on, so for bringing up Bellator up as a serious threat to the UFC’s dominance is also a stretch.

    Some great action on Wednesday that I got to watch for free (though not in HD) so as a fan, I’m happy.

    Oh yeah, what’s on in the boxing world this weekend? Klitschko-Chisora on Epix and Williamas against some Japanese guy I’ve never heard of with one big win under his belt on Showtime. You’ve got to be kidding me.

  8. Sampson Simpson on February 18th, 2012 10:28 PM


    I didn’t say Sanchez-Ellenberger was absurd. I said that the product so far showcased on FOX, not FuelTV or FX has been sub-par. That creates a negative reaction from a wider base of audience.

    So while FOX does 4 shows per year exposing the UFC to a wider audience, the rest and MAJORITY of the shows will be rebuilding the brand on different channels such as FX (sideways from Spike), and FuelTV which is a complete downgrade from Spike.

    Bellator is in a perfect position to capitalize on the moment. Viacom, parent company of MTV Networks and Spike has bought a majority stake in them essentially eliminating the role that the UFC plays in MMA. Spike still retains strong ratings on UFC replays meaning that the MMA fan or demographic of Spike browsers still is interested in watching any form of combat on the channel regardless of whether it’s live or not. Bellator is on a primed platform in this instance.

    The end of 2013 will tell the story. I’m sure the UFC will grow FuelTV to some good figures but if they are unable to regularly generate 1.5 million viewers on FX AND FuelTV, it doesn’t look good when going up against one streamline distribution point that currently generates good ratings on MMA replays.

  9. Diego on February 19th, 2012 6:12 AM

    Let me start by saying that boxing had a great weekend. Klitschko-Chisora had me jumping out of my chair, Cloud-Campillo was excellent except for the juding, Williams looked solid, and Showtime has started showing the undercards of fights on ShoExtreme before going to the main event fights on Shotime which is a big move for boxing.


    I don’t agree that the product on Fox, FX and Fuel has been sub-par. I would say that it’s been as good as the Versus and Spike shows and the Fox cards a cut above. It’s subjective and we probably won’t agree, but I think we can agree that those shows have been superior to the average Bellator show.

    The move to Spike is great for Bellator and should give their ratings a big boost, but going head-to-head with the UFC will be difficult for them due to the gap in talent between the two organizations. I think Bellator will grow, which is good for MMA, but won’t seriously threaten the dominance of the UFC.

    While the channel is important, content also matters. Right now Spike is the channel for MMA, but the content is on the Fox network. As time goes on I expect viewership for the UFC replays on Spike will shrink in favor of the UFC shows. By the time Bellator jumps into the mix on Spike, those numbers will have been eroded somewhat. Regardless, a shift from the UFC to Bellator in terms of market power, which I consider highly unlikely, will not necessarily hurt the sport. But like you said, time will tell.

  10. BrainSmasher on February 19th, 2012 3:59 PM

    It appears the numbers for Spike are down also. Which is a good sign for the UFC. I believe Spike was getting high 700+K for the replays. Now they are down in the mid 600K. It will be interesting if those numbers continue to drop.

  11. Sampson Simpson on February 20th, 2012 1:44 PM


    There is no gap in talent. There’s only a gap in the marketing and exposure of the fighters. Gap in talent is all in the glossy videos and hype machine kicking in. Bellator has the backing of Viacom which is stronger than what the UFC has to offer.

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