UFC on Fox 7: 3.31 million viewer average in fast overnights

April 21, 2013

MMA Fighting reports the ratings for UFC on Fox 7 were down slightly from UFC on Fox 6 as it received an average of 3.31 million fans for a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo.

The fast national ratings gages the 8-10pm timeslot and does not cover the overrun in which most of the main event took place.  Moreover, it does not calculate the west coast time zone as it only looks at what Fox showed between 8-10pm and not 5-7:40pm, the actual time the event was shown live.  

The fast overnights for UFC on Fox 6 were 3.77 million and a 1.8 rating for the 18-49 demo.

In the end, UFC on Fox 6 in January received an average viewership of 4.4 million viewers with the main event of Mighty Mouse Johnson versus John Dodson.

Saturday night’s televised card had much more depth and featured a back and forth fight between lightweight champion Benson Henderson edging Gilbert Melendez.  It also showed that the audience grew with each fight.

Via MMA Fighting:

The show had consistent growth, with the Jordan Mein vs. Matt Brown fight doing 2.59 million viewers, the Josh Thomson vs. Nate Diaz fight doing 3.18 million and the Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir fight doing 3.73 million.

The show finished second overall among the networks, losing to CBS, which aired a first run airing of Vegas and a replay of The Mentalist in the time slot. But in the 18-49 target demo, over the first two hours, it more than doubled second place ABC (1.5 to 0.7).

Payout Perspective:

The MMA Fighting article suggests that the NFL’s help in promoting its event was a contributing factor in the decrease in ratings.  It notes that four Fox events during the NFL season were above 4.2 million whereas Fox events outside of NFL season were only 2.4.  Of course, the quality of fights may have contributed to this.  Notably, August’s UFC on Fox 4 featured Brandon Vera vs. Shogun Rua and May’s UFC on Fox 3 featured Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller.  

In the end, is the UFC gaining on mainstream fans with its Fox relationship?  Adam Swift evaluates the relationship and determines that, at this point, the UFC has solidified itself as a good niche sport.

Will the creation of Fox Sports 1 help straighten out the confusion with platforms or continue it? This would depend on whether Fox execs anchor UFC programming on FS1. Moreover, there is still time for the UFC to make inroads into the mainstream. It just has not done so as of yet. The question is whether there is a timeframe that the UFC or Fox has in its projections where the UFC will develop into a mainstream sport. Of course, the definition of mainstream is another discussion itself.

16 Responses to “UFC on Fox 7: 3.31 million viewer average in fast overnights”

  1. BrainSmasher on April 21st, 2013 8:13 PM

    I think a mistake people make in comparing the UFC with its peak. They want to look at it face value and I don’t think you can do that. The UFC at its peak Had a lot of new fans and the UFC was a fad. So those who followed just didn’t follow. They ate it up. And the UFC had the fighters they were pulled in by. Brock and Chuck. I think the Fan base is bigger now than it was before. I just don’t think the casual fans are as die hard as they used to be. Because there are more events and because fans are more into specific fighters than the brand or just fight fans than ever before. They are more selective in the events they want. I bet if there was a study. It would find there are much more fans than before but they are watch less events per year. The UFC brand used to be good for 300K buys each PPV. Because of the number of events. That number is down to around 200K. I dotn think anyone would suggest there is 100K hardcore fans who no longer follow the sport at all. They have become selective in the events they watch. We see the fan base is still intact because when there is a decent event on FOX the numbers are there. When there is a mega PPV it is hitting PPV numbers that compare to mega events in any other year. If you look at the majority of PPVs. The UFC has done a good job of masking its fan base selectivity. Outside a few events. PPV numbers are consistent and steady. I think FOX is the reason for it. IMo without FOX. There wouldn’t have been any growth in fanbase and there would have been a large decline in PPV buys across the board. But Fox has balanced it out with additional casual fans. Just my opinion. Not enough information to know one way or the other. But we have know for a while that there was a change from consumer following the brand to following the stars. The Brand created stability and consistency. But it had its limits. The Stars are more volatile but the upside was 1 million buy PPVs. The down side is. Peoples favorite fighters do not fight every event. So it causes fans to see less events per year.

  2. BrainSmasher on April 21st, 2013 8:48 PM

    Also PPV buy average was up in 2012 from 2011. From 420K to 450K. That was with 2011 Having a 700K buy Brock fight. So we see improvement there. Spike TV was great and it allowed the UFC to be in a position to use him on a Strong Pro wrestling network. Now the UFC can reach more mainstream people. Which is perfect position now they are into WMMA and Rousey being a hit. That’s a mainstream staory that wouldn’t have reach the masses and had the same impact on Spike TV. The UFC is getting stronger and catching up with numbers from a few years ago. But to measure FOX you have to think of where they would be if still on Spike with current situations. Without Brock, injuries, fewer stars, and inability to reach beyond Spike for a WMMA demo. They would have taken a major hit by now. So Fox has been great foe the UFC and PPV numbers for 2013 are not in. But off to a strong start that compares to its best year ever. With only a few PPVs in the books. They already have a 1.1 million buys with UFC 158 and whatever Rousey did at UFC 157 which im sure was pretty big. Now we are coming up on Jones vs Chael which is easily good for 500K. This might be the 2nd biggest PPV year despite the new weight classes headlining events.

  3. Sampson Simpson on April 22nd, 2013 5:06 AM

    BrainSmasher = Full of Nonsense

    FuelTV and too many PPV’s has killed the UFC’s momentum. You have to be stupid to not comprehend that

  4. BrainSmasher on April 22nd, 2013 8:20 AM

    One of these days the Homeless shelter will have Fuel Tv and you won’t have to be a clueless hater. Btw, PPV numbers have increased since joinning Fox and ratings are increasing this year.

  5. Sampson Simpson on April 22nd, 2013 11:08 AM

    You’re an idiot. How many UFC fans complained that they don’t get this stupid channel?

    A ton idiot.

    I’m happy to see UFC create an opening for Bellator with this FOX deal. Bellator just getting started while UFC desparately tries to shove WOMEN fighting down their zombie fan base throats, HAHAHAHAHAHAA

  6. Chris on April 22nd, 2013 11:19 AM

    First off these are overnight numbers not final numbers, they will be around the last two events when the final numbers come on.

    Second the Fox deal was rough at first, moving to a new channel, people not having Fuel etc but the move to FS1 which is in 90 million homes will be great for them. No more not having Fuel, all programming will be on one network with TUF, fight nights, countdowns etc.

    and the Fox shows have been great, they can do 5-6 million viewers for LW/Fly fights, problem is they cant put the true stars on Fox cause they need them for PPV.

    If they put GSP or Silva on Fox they would do 10 million viewers during the main event easy but they cant spare the big PPv draws.

    And give it up Sampson, Bellator isnt doing shit, they were handed a tv network that the UFC built, they were handed it on a plate behind TNA and they cant even crack 1 million viewers. But they are coming? LOL.

    and shoving women fighting? I guess you dont watch mma cause the women fights are awesome and Ronda is a star, she is 10x bigger star than Bellators entire roster combined.

  7. Sampson Simpson on April 22nd, 2013 2:29 PM

    Chris typing = Zzzzzzzzzzz

  8. Weezy02 on April 22nd, 2013 3:15 PM

    “…..while UFC desparately tries to shove WOMEN fighting down their zombie fan base throats, HAHAHAHAHAHAA.”

    Yeah! Women should know their place, right?! Geez, your family is somewhere right now hiding their faces in shame. Do everyone a favor and go back to listening to your Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck broadcast.

  9. Chris on April 22nd, 2013 5:09 PM

    Thats all Sampson can do, he avoids facts, he avoids debating with anyone, he just states dumb shit, gets put on blast and exposed as a troll and then responds with


    Not sure why they let this troll post on here, its not like brings anything valuable to this site. he already welched on a bet to leave, pathetic.

    I expect better from Bjorn Rebney.

  10. BrainSmasher on April 22nd, 2013 9:28 PM

    “How many UFC fans complained that they don’t get this stupid channel?”

    How many get the PPVs’ for free? None! But they pay for it. Everyone bitched about not getting Fuel is just to cheap to pay for it and up grade their package. Hell there are very few who do not have access to the channel with their provider. Even then they have the option to switch providers and move to DTV or something. So who cares if people complain. The ratings have been rapidly increasing and the UFC caused a major boom in subscriptions. Now they are rebranding and will be in all the homes. Either way people not getting Fuel has nothing to do with the success of the FOX deal. The point of the deal was get more viewers(Which they do with FOX events, reach a new Demo which they do with FOX and FX, and promote PPVs which were up last year while on Fox compared to the year before on Spike and will be up again this year. That’s success any way you spell it.

  11. adder on April 22nd, 2013 10:19 PM

    the headline here is that more and more people in the mma community are recognizing that what mma’s detractors have been saying is true.

    mma was a fad and now a niche sport at best. so many people amazed by mma’s climb from complete obscurity deluded themselves into thinking it was the brand name becoming mainstream that was responsible for the numbers during the fad years. it was not. during that time the sport had many stars, some like liddel and brock were crossover stars that brought a lot of eyes to the sport.

    now that they are gone many of those eyes are gone too. not made permanent fans of the brand. this is a phenomena well known to other non team sports but new to the green fans of mma. from here on out it’s about maintaining the hardcore fan base and just trying to expand a bit into foreign markets were mma has little impact. dana whites idea that mma would be bigger then the NFL in America and soccer world wide was a joke that only green mma fans bought into.

  12. BrainSmasher on April 23rd, 2013 12:19 AM


    That isn’t true. When the UFC got big all their fans come in and piled onto the Chuck and Brock bandwagons because that is who brought them in. Since that time the fans have spread out onto all the different fighters the UFC offers. They are not condensed on 1 or 2 fighters like before. If the UFC was just a fad. Why is it still doing the same numbers with Mega events? Doesn’t that suggest the same amount of fans are following the sport? Why are the TV ratings so strong? Even a TUF show almost all fans claim was dead and stale and no one watched was only a few hundred thousand fans from its Hey Day. Live events are doing as well as always. Like Boxing, the fans are following the fighters. But unlike Boxing. The UFC has 20-30 headliners who the fans want to see. The UFC right now doesn’t have as many fighters who draw in 500K plus PPV buys like they did a few years ago. But they have more guys who can headline a 300K PPV event than ever before.

    You are writing the UFC off as not a mainstream sport way to soon. All the major sports were pure male sports for ever until the last 20 years when they made a push to expand to females. The UFC is now taking aim at females viewers. If just a single division of WMMA mixed in the UFC takes off and even brings the female demo of the UFC up to 30%. It would be mainstream and would be a contender to be primetime TV on a regular basis and have a broader appeal to advertisers. The UFC hasn’t even started to capitalize on its FOX deal yet in creating stars. Soon the young fighters they showcase on Fox in front of 4+ million viewers will take off and it will soon have its new Chuck Liddell who have been exposed to MANY more people than Chuck ever was.

    The fan base is larger than ever. Soon a fighter will come along and will appeal to a larger group of them and have mega PPV buys. For GSP to sell a million PPVs at 158 with the number of PPVs and free MMA on tv. Clearly shows the fanbase is as strong as ever.

  13. Diego on April 23rd, 2013 7:19 AM

    MMA and boxing are always going to be niche sports, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be very profitable. Certain stars will be able to get mainstream awareness and boost the popularity of their sports for a period of time, but in the end, combat sports are too bloody and violent to be mainstream. Even the NFL and NHL are looking to tone down the violence in their respective sports.

    I agree that the fanbase is strong, but it’s not expanding at the rate people (including Dana) were predicting back in 2010. There is still room to grow, but growth will be slower and more costly. MMA is neither dying, nor on track to become mainstream. Both haters and nut-huggers (to use the parlance of our times) need to understand that. What MMA is doing is steadily carving out a niche and figuring out the level of business it can sustain.

  14. Jose Mendoza on April 23rd, 2013 11:21 AM

    UFC on FOX 7 Final Ratings: 2.2 rating with 3.7 million viewers.

  15. BrainSmasher on April 23rd, 2013 3:58 PM

    That is a little disappointing. Not a bad number. But with so many west coast fighters in the top 3 fights. I really expected the final numbers to come in strong. Especially with a long 25 minute main event. Numbers typically keep climbing. So a longer main event you would think would help. Maybe the NBA playoffs kept people from tuning it at the rate they usually do. Who knows.

  16. Chris on April 23rd, 2013 7:18 PM

    Final numbers 3.7 million average
    4.7 million peak during main event.

    Solid numbers, down from the last two but thats to be expected without the NFL promotion which seems to count for about 1 mill extra viewers.

    But its about 1.3 mill above what the spring card did last year so thats a good sign.

    shows UFC events with a good card can do good ratings anytime of the year but the extra push during the NFL helps cards, which is obvious.

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