UFC delivers on night of Fox Sports 1 debut

August 18, 2013

Figure Four Online (subscription required) reports that the UFC main card on Fox Sports 1 scored an impressive average of 1.78 million viewers.  The card featuring Chael Sonnen-Shogun Rua in the main event received a 1.4 rating and defeated all 4 networks in the key demos

The Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand tweeted that FS1 prime time scored an average of 1.71 million in the 8:00-11:00pm prime time space.  F4W Online reported the average from 8:00 to 10:45pm, the approximate end after Sonnen’s first round submission and post-fight interview.

The numbers are impressive as the card started in the early evening on the West Coast (5:00pm) and there is always confusion in finding a new channel.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings show that viewers can find a channel if they really want to.  The fact that the UFC did so well on the opening night of a new channel is a big win for the UFC and FS1.  The numbers and the wins in its key demo (males, 18-49) is a big positive for the UFC.  Not sure if Sonnen was the reason for the draw or the fact that people were curious about the new channel.  Regardless, the ratings are better than the UFC’s live event debut on FX (1.3M) and series average (1.29M).

63 Responses to “UFC delivers on night of Fox Sports 1 debut”

  1. Chris on August 18th, 2013 8:22 PM

    But Sampson told me the UFC would struggle to do 500k viewers on FS1.

  2. Tops of on August 18th, 2013 9:15 PM

    Dana white:

    “You guys especially believed [Overeem] was the best at one time. He had a big following. You bring a guy like that in and you see what happens. You bring in guys who are the best in the world or supposedly the best in the world and we find out. That’s what we do.”

    Funny how Dana uses YOU word……blames everybody else /distances himself from overeem…hahaha…how professional…so if rousey loses her next 2 fights Dana would say ….you guys believed she was the best……

  3. BrainSmasher on August 18th, 2013 11:59 PM

    I was really happy to see Fox Sports 1 channel placement on Direct TV. Speed and Fuel were up in the 600’s with channels no one watches or even gets. FS1 was channel 219 right along side ESPN 206-209 and NBC Sports somewhere around there. This puts them in direct like of sight of sports fans. A lot of people over look this. But it makes a difference to people surfing channels if they come across it or not. In this case many sports fan going to ESPN will run across it and see UFC on the TV guide or see the fights and keep watching or atleast know it is on when maybe they wouldn’t have. Channel placement killed Verses and really hurts Fuel.

    I wonder why determines the placement? When Speed changed to FS1 it didn’t gain households. So what determined it if was going to stay in 600’s or 200’s? Is their a cost associated with the better placement?

  4. Scott on August 19th, 2013 1:42 AM

    The real test will be when they start putting programming on FS2, which Fox still hasn’t gotten into nearly as many households as FS1 is in already (~36m vs 90m?). It would make sense for Fox to put bigger-drawing events on FS2 in the short term, if it can help drive an expansion of the network’s distribution in the mid-to-long term.

  5. Tops of on August 19th, 2013 4:02 AM

    Just under two years ago, Alistair Overeem flew to Las Vegas to sign with the UFC. The company’s owner Lorenzo Fertitta personally signed the fighter and cut him a check for a rumored $1 million signing bonus. At the time Overeem was the ex-Strikeforce HW champion and a K-1 kickboxing tournament champ.

    So when Dana says YOU does it include the .fertitas?….hahaha..Dana should have said…we signed him and gave him the bigger money as signing bonus than our current heavyweight fighters because………….

  6. Jason Cruz on August 19th, 2013 5:07 AM

    On DirecTV, FS1 replaced Mav TV (which showed King of the Cage) on channel 219. Nice replacement.

  7. Diego on August 19th, 2013 6:17 AM

    The fights were great as well. It was an event that lived up to it’s billing. The 1.8 M viewers had to have been happy at the end of the night. It really couldn’t have gone much better.

    I liked the new production as well. Fox used the “close-up cam” when the fight went to the floor which I felt make some slow portions of fights feel more intense. All in all a great start for the UFC on it’s new channel. Fox must feel that the UFC can pull its weight and will help make FS1 successful.

  8. Chris on August 19th, 2013 6:30 AM

    Where you at Sampson? He wont show his face in here. Didnt we make a bet that if they did more than 500k viewers you’d leave this site? Oh thats right I said forget it cause you’re a pussy who doesnt honor his word when you backed out of another bet you lost.


  9. Sampson Simpson on August 19th, 2013 8:54 AM

    Pussy is that thing you call a mouth Christine. I don’t spend my every waking our defending the UFC all across the web like you do you sad, pathetic, excuse for a human.

    So what it pulled less than 2 million viewers in 90 million homes? So WHAT?

    What were the numbers on Spike a few years back?

  10. Chris on August 19th, 2013 9:30 AM

    Its cool Sampson, dont be sad, cheer up dude. Its not the end of the world, I know you are pissed as hell they did good but we still have to see what Wed fight nights do. IF those numbers are low you can be happy again.

  11. Andrew on August 19th, 2013 9:47 AM

    sampson needs to just stop whining. I don’t get why he hates mma

  12. Chris on August 19th, 2013 9:59 AM

    He can hate mma all he wants, nobody said he has to like it, what I dont get is why him and Tops come to mma sites when they both clearly hate the sport.

    Thats what I dont get it. Just like I dont get someone who says they hate boxing going to Bad Left Hook and shitting on the sport. Thats retarded to me. if you hate something you dont care about it, you dont talk about it, you dont read about it.

    Maybe I’m wrong but has Tops or Sampson ever commented about an mma topic and actually said something positive about mma? At this point can anyone tell me the last time either of them actually commented on the actual topic?

    My guess is they just like to troll, rather than going on boxing sites and talking boxing they woudl rather hate on mma but they’ve probably been banned by all the mma sites/forums so this is the last place they can trash mma.

  13. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 10:06 AM

    The problem for me was that i was relatively sober. watching the same 2 commercials over and over was terrible. i also thought doomsday lost. I’m uber disappointed in the reem. The main event was shocking to say the least. White needs to put on more ppv quality cards. Uriah hall and doomsday are weak for what happened the last 30seconds.

  14. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 10:16 AM

    Chris: why are you so hung up on those 2? your constant complaining is about as bad as anything on here. Even if they are on goldenboys payroll to trash boxing on mma sites on the web, theres nothing you can do about it. i swear i was reading a post from bs the other day on a different mma site, same arguements and everything just a different username. There’s a war going on and this is just another front chris. so do your best to make the sport you love look good. try to regain your dignity for gods sake.

  15. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 10:20 AM

    Err golden boys payroll to trash mma… now i wish i was paid to trash mma. i would do it. it just so happens i despise white and his policies without the benefit of fox news style memos with talking points and directives. ufc being on fox is perfect for my larger “i hate fox” arguement because it gives me one more bullet to use.

  16. Chris on August 19th, 2013 11:14 AM

    so my complaining about them is bad but their hating is ok? But then you go on to say you’d be a paid hater and how you hate Dana and Fox etc so it makes sense why you wouldnt say anything about the two of them.

    also I dont think they are paid to trash mma, especially not by GB.

  17. Sampson Simpson on August 19th, 2013 11:14 AM

    I know for a fact that Zuffa pays folks to troll and trash boxing and other MMA orgs online. They also pay these same people to shill for their shitty product.


  18. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 11:33 AM

    I generally agree with what tops or sampson say. in contrast with my disagreeing with nearly everything bs has to say. then there’s chris is the background complaining. then there’s aintitthetruth shining some more light on the situation.

  19. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 11:35 AM

    Paid to troll? i seriously couldn’t think of a more perfect part time job.

  20. duck on August 19th, 2013 12:52 PM

    Chris they don’t hate MMA, they just hate the UFC and have probably done so since Pride was around.

    They jump on any bandwagon that isn’t UFC and it’s pathetic, from Pride to Dream to now One FC in Asia and Elite XC, WFA, IFL, Affliction, Strikeforce and now Bellator and WSOF in North America.

    When the UFC easily out performs these guys they jump on Boxing and Kick Boxing’s and start moving the argument to things like a fighters pay or what ratings a show did in Bulgaria.

    If anyone is paid to post things at least they are doing it for money instead of holding a pathetic grudge because Zuffa “killed” their favorite promotion, even though these companies would have died anyway.

  21. Random Dude on August 19th, 2013 12:56 PM

    Chris, Sampson has said positive things about MMA in the past, you just have ignored them when he does. If anything you should ask has Brainsmasher said anything positive about MMA. He only says positive things about the UFC and usually bad things about MMA in general.

    “I know for a fact that Zuffa pays folks to troll and trash boxing and other MMA orgs online. They also pay these same people to shill for their shitty product.”

    It definitely is a fact.

    I remember a few years ago there was an article that was a leak of a ZUFFA internal memo talking about people being hired to post messages on forums and hype or discredit stuff.

    Here it is:



    “I liked the new production as well.”

    Hate the stupid news bar at the bottom of Fox Sports 1. Very annoying and it cut’s off part of the actual video. I noticed on one of the slow-mo replays you couldn’t see the punch connecting because of the bar. Also on the subtitled interviews it would cut off the text.

  22. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 12:58 PM

    Zuffa may not have killed them, but they certainly burried wec,wfa, and PRIDE. along with their early champions except royce and ken shamrock. Ufc likes to pretend pat miletich and frank shamrock never existed.

  23. MMAPayout on August 19th, 2013 1:04 PM


    We will start to monitor some of the trolling and language being used on the site. It’s been getting out of hand lately and we don’t want it to keep going down this road. We still encourage everyone to post their insight and opinions, but please be mindful to the other members on the site.

    MMAPayout Team

  24. Machiel Van on August 19th, 2013 1:33 PM

    Finally! Thank you “MMAPayout Team”. Godspeed.

  25. Sampson Simpson on August 19th, 2013 1:40 PM

    Thank YOU!!!! Finally we can get some decent discussion without Chris crying all the time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptNAlNEB7Kw

  26. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 2:08 PM

    The thunderdome atmosphere was great while it lasted.

  27. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 2:32 PM

    Thanks for that info random dude. all i can say is told you so.

  28. adder on August 19th, 2013 2:57 PM

    LOL, looks like the party is over for most of this sites regulars.

  29. Random Dude on August 19th, 2013 3:09 PM

    Yeah, this place was actually interesting for the comments, hostility and all. Unfortunately not everyone is as thick skinned so they take this internet shit seriously. Oh well, it won’t be the first time a web site with comments let itself get boring because of a few whiners.

  30. BrainSmasher on August 19th, 2013 3:26 PM

    I say plenty of positive things about other MMA promotions. But this site, as it should, mostly reports on UFC. All other promotions are pretty new and trying to survive. So sitting here just looking at the positive things from these promotions isn’t going to help them. IMO, you look at the positives when you reached a level of stability where you can survive. Bellator and WSOF are not there. They need to grow or they will die. So focusing on the positives and creating complacency and not addressing what they need to do to grow and survive doesn’t do anyone any good.

    Bellator signing Tito and Rampage was a good idea. But the upside isn’t as great to them as the downside of them facing each other or putting them as headliner of the PPV right out of the gate. The impacts of this couldn’t put them out of business. The positive in this case is only a positive if it is handled right. In this case it wasn’t. It also isn’t the most important news imo.

    Second. These promotions are on tv. Their goal is to compete with the UFC. Therfore they should be held to the same standards as the UFC. When you make controversial changes or decisions that people are not used to. Then people will discuss and judge you by those decisions. You look on any message board and you will see any concern I have brought up with regards to non UFC promotions is also shared by many others. At Bellator and WSOF current ratings. Fans can not be satisfied with the status quo. If so both will be gone inside 2 years. So we must focus on what they need to do and what they are doing wrong.

  31. BrainSmasher on August 19th, 2013 3:31 PM

    Glad there will some moderation. I don’t mind heated debates on the issues. But trolling for the sake of trolling like Tops and at times Sampson and “AintTruth” do. Doesn’t do this site any favors.

  32. Diego on August 19th, 2013 4:54 PM

    Random Dude,

    That’s right, most of us do take it seriously. There are plenty of keyboard warrior rants on Sherdog or MMAJunkie if that’s what you’re looking for. I like the technical discussions on this site, and strong opinions are fine as long as there is an argument to support them. Trolling is for children. I don’t mind the language, but the name calling is pathetic. Except when I do it, then it’s necessary and on point.

  33. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 5:17 PM

    Bs, is bigot. if anyone needs moderation its him. There should also be a new rule: no posts over 3 paragraphs. that ones for bs

  34. Tops of on August 19th, 2013 5:33 PM

    Hahaha….Chris is pissed…..because not everybody’s following Dana’s hype train….he wants everybody to be a ufcfanboys tow the line and just beleive what Dana says and be a Dana follower…..whining Chris

  35. Random Dude on August 19th, 2013 6:55 PM

    The best technical discussions on the state of the industry on this site have been due to the arguments/trolling wars between Brainsmasher and Sampson/Tops/aintitthetruth.

    If any of these guys are limited, the comments will end up being only 2 or 3 every 5 articles saying the same thing “Looks like progress for the UFC. Good news!” and other boring nonsense like that.

    The thing is Sampson/Tops/aintitthetruth aren’t anti-UFC. They are anti-bullshit. Corporations don’t like people who call out bullshit, so I understand why the paid UFC shills and fanboys have a problem with them given the amount of control the UFC tries to have on its image.

    Hell, Sampson even believes more than Brainsmasher does that the UFC could be successful without PPVs and only television deals. Why would a anti-UFC troll think such a thing is even possible?

  36. Sampson Simpson on August 19th, 2013 7:58 PM

    If anything this past Saturday’s show re emphasizes my stance.

    Put spectacles like Silva-Weidman 2 on FS1 and put a big promo behind it getting to draw 3 million avg. viewers = Huge leverage down the road when the contract is up. That’s how most sports operate… put the small and big shows all on free TV. Use the big ones for leverage to get the networks to overpay for the entire thing.

    Pretty simple.

  37. BrainSmasher on August 19th, 2013 9:05 PM

    That isn’t how most sports operate. Every sport that gives all their products to free tv right now have massive followings and revenue to cover their expenses. That is because their tv presence and athlete expense grew together. The UFC couldn’t get on TV back in the day and had to use PPV. Now expenses and revenue are way to high to make the switch cold turkey to free tv at the present time. The UFC doesn’t have the money to cover the loses and hope a bigger TV deal comes along to make it worth it. It would also require every fighter to take huge pay cuts at a time when people like you are complaining they don’t get paid enough.

    If it was such a good idea then why has boxing done it? That’s because they don’t have the fan base to get ratings high enough to get a TV deal to replace PPV. Not even 1 single Boxing star has tried it. Truth is I don’t think any combat sport can draw those type of ratings. Its a male dominated sport. I think the UFC is make inroads into other demo’s. But its is going to take long time. The NFL made a push 20+ years ago to draw in females. It worked but it took a long time.

  38. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 10:34 PM

    Even if ufc did get tv deals like the nfl the only way the fighters would get a near 50/50 split like nfl players is over whites dead body.

  39. aintitthetruth on August 19th, 2013 10:37 PM

    50/50 profit split that is.

  40. Logical on August 19th, 2013 10:57 PM

    I am not impressed with the numbers, this was a PPV worthy card with big names on it and it was also the channels inauguration which received big press and hype and frankly i expected better for such a hyped up event… I am not a UFC hater or any of the sort but IMO the UFC has not been able to get back to the consistent and strong numbers it was pulling back when it was on SpikeTV.

    Remember when Dana White and everyone was saying that the UFC was going to pull double the numbers on FX? and expecting more than 3 million viewers at the very least? It was so disastrous that we are now calling 1.7 mill a huge success, honestly… if this was back in late 2011 would you really be calling this a success?

  41. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 12:48 AM

    Good point….Dana says a lot of b.s….but fanboys continue to beleive every word he says…..

  42. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 12:55 AM

    “The position of the USOC is the Olympics do not have alternates. You are either an Olympian or you are not. The term alternate has been developed outside of the USOC, likely by a lot of us who did not make the team to make us feel better!!”

  43. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 12:55 AM

    Funny article

  44. Steve on August 20th, 2013 7:03 AM

    Sampson is the most miserable person ever. All he does is whine about UFC and Zuffa. He needs anger management.

  45. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 8:25 AM

    If it was such a good idea why hasn’t “boxing” done it?

    People are strange creatures in referring to “boxing” as an entity. It is a sport not an entity so “boxing” doesn’t breath, walk, sleep, or operate as creature. It is a fragmented sport in which promoters are looking for the strongest revenue propositions for each event.

    The UFC is a single entity in a different position. Those that refer to “boxing” as “doing this” or that just simply do not get it.

  46. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 9:37 AM

    “Not even 1 single Boxing star has tried it”.

    Mike Tyson drew 43 million viewers on FOX.


  47. aintitthetruth on August 20th, 2013 11:40 AM

    So couture isn’t an alternate anymore either? It’s funny how handsome and mellow looking people like sonnen and couture just can’t wrestle as good as dumpy and mean looking henderson and lindland.

  48. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 2:43 PM

    Yet Tyson left TV for Pay Per View. Gee I can’t possibly wonder why!

  49. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 2:45 PM

    There doesn’t have to be an official alternate to be and alternate. Of someone is next on line the. By definition they are the alternate. I have never heard Chael refer to himself as an Olympic alternate. Only NCAA champ and All American.

  50. Chang on August 20th, 2013 3:27 PM

    Golden Boy Boxing on FS1 Daniel Jacobs v. Giovanni Lorenzo 9:00PM 156,000 total viewers


  51. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 3:38 PM

    You’re an idiot. Tyson is one fighter. The UFC is an organization, they have the opportunity to make the decisions for an entire sport.

    But then again… why am I even trying to educate these pea brains.

  52. aintitthetruth on August 20th, 2013 3:58 PM

    Olympic alternates could also be known as the winning loser. chael sonnen is a winning loser. i like the sound of that.

  53. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:36 PM

    Nice cop out. The fact Tyson is a single fighter give him a better chance to supplement PPV. He doesn’t have to promote lower level fighters who don’t draw ratings. However, not a single boxer has passed on PPV for network TV. In fact any network would love to have a big drawing Boxing match. But they cant compete with PPV.

  54. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:44 PM

    The only way I see the UFC going Free TV as a majority of their revenue is through a hybrid of Network and PPV. Either cutting the number of PPVs down to 6 or so. Making PPV’s and free events stronger across the board. This would minimize the loss of switching to free TV. IF the 6 PPV’s all break 1 million sales. Then it might be able to not lose anything if the TV deal is good.

    The other option I can see being possible is the UFC doing what Showtime and NHO do and show the replay of PPVs for free a few weeks later. They would still sell a lot of PPV’s and also use them to get ratings. Not sure what the ratings would be on a old fight. Maybe use the PPV headliner taped fight as the open fighting on the next live free card. That way you get everyone wanting to see the live card and anyone who missed the PPV. It would draw better than just old fights.

  55. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 5:55 PM

    That’s what I stated weeks ago.

    Drastically cut down the PPV number to drive up the FS1 event ratings with bigger draws/bigger promo.

    Current annual deal is $90 million per year. Right now UFC has all the leverage in the world as FOX has no ratings grabber at this current price tag. It takes time but to stay in this no man’s land of 14-16 PPV’s a year while marginalizing the fan base in the process when they have a strong distribution partner in FS1 (90 million homes) at their disposal makes no sense. The longer they continue to put on that many PPV’s… yes they will not be able to capitalize on a wider audience when they take PPV quality cards and bring them to FS1.

    Like I stated weeks ago, it’s not a transition that happens overnight. It’s 12 next year, 10 the following, 8, then 6.

    UFC’s biggest risk is Fox failing overall and not being able to get the transmission fees to pay the escalating bills. PPV keeps their destiny in-house so there’s 2 sides I suppose…

  56. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:56 PM

    PPV isn’t going anywhere. In fact other sports have started selling their events and depending less on ad revenue. There is 2-3 million people who are paying for NFL games with NFL Sunday Ticket on Direct TV. There is also MLB and NBA and NHL packages too. Because these leagues saw more money in charging fans rather than giving it to them for free and depending just on Ads.

  57. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 6:08 PM

    I agreed with you then too. BUt not on the details. The UFC cant afford to cut PPV’s without an immediate return in tv revenue.

    I do think the UFC popularity will start to rise without making any changes. It appears Fox is really backing the UFC and are looking for long term returns. They are marrying the UFC to every asset they have. I see them really pushing hard to link the UFC and NFL together. When that happens and those sports fans get used to seeing MMA fighters hand and hand with their favorite sport and players they will learn the fighters and follow the sport. How big the UFC will get from this is anyones guess. BUt I think they are going to put to many resources into making it happen to not work.

    That said. If it happens. Then the UFC PPV’s will only get bigger and bigger as far as buys. Also the free fighters not on PPV will also be bigger. The Tv deal is important to assure UFC doesn’t have the struggles that Boxing has seen. I don’t see the UFC switching away from PPV’s unless buy rates plummeted. Then they might go full blown Network TV to keep the company alive. Which I don’t see happening.

  58. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 7:23 PM

    The biggest problem with PPV that isn’t going away anytime soon is that broadband is only getting better with higher adoption rates. It’s getting increasingly mobile as well.

    That is the limiting factor in growing revenue through this medium. Sure the other sports are gravitating towards other packages but their biggest events are still on widely accessible, well distributed networks. There’s a reason for that.

    These entities dangle the carrot of their biggest events in order to get the networks to overpay for their shitty regular season events that aren’t watched as much. That’s what I’m saying the UFC needs to do since they are a platform much like these leagues. They might get underpaid on the big events but they will get way overpaid on the shitty events.

  59. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 10:27 PM

    Winning loser sounds right….haha….whoever spread that Olympic alternate quote..hyping 101….checked the net and most mma websites called him an Olympic alternate…..hahaha

  60. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 11:42 PM

    TRAINING: Wanderlei has a gym in Vegas, but he trains in LA.  Are you getting this?  Even he won’t train at his gym!

    When and why did you start training for fighting? I started with Team Quest about two years before it was called Team Quest.

    What ranks and titles have you held? Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion. Hitman Light Heavyweight Champion. Danger Zone Light Heavyweight Champion. Rumble at the River tournament Champion. 2x University National Champion. NCAA All-American, US. Olympic Team Alternate.


  61. BrainSmasher on August 21st, 2013 1:54 PM

    Who cares. As we have established there is no official “Alternate”. So it really means whatever anyone who uses the term wants it to mean. Do we even know who would be the replacement if someone got hurt that was on the Olympic team? Is anyone selected or preselected. Maybe to Chael it means anyone in the top 10. He doesn’t say first alternate. Since it doesn’t official exist and there is no official definition. Then he wasn’t lying as it can mean anything he wants it too. More than likely it is something he started saying early in his career to get in the UFC. People don’t understand wrestling and placing 3rd or 4th in this or that tournament doesn’t have any appeal. Mentioning the Olympics does. Im sure this is why Couture started using it and it might be what got him in the UFC. Back then everyone was fabricating credentials. It was not only needed to get in the UFC but it was used by the UFC to sell the fighter. It works and is why Rickson claims to be 400-0 and Sperry claimed to be 200-0 and why every promotion has tried to tie a fighter in with the Olympics. I could careless if Chael was 2nd place or 4th place. Result is he didn’t make the Olympics and that is the case for either position.

  62. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 6:38 PM

    Sonnen is known for making something out of nothing. And is a felon. Nothing from him would surprise me. But this does fit well into his overall narrative.

  63. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 3:14 AM

    Used by the UFC to sell its fighter….? Hahaha…its called false marketing…..So Amir khan who got silver medal in the Olympics should have called himself goldenboy alternate……shows what kind of company the UFC is…

Got something to say?