Many pundits may have questioned why the UFC would put all of their promotional eggs in Conor McGregor’s basket leading up to UFC Fight Night 59 in Boston on Sunday, but the doubters can now go silent.
FOX Sports on Wednesday revealed that UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver was the most-watched MMA event ever on FOX Sports 1, and was also the most-watched MMA event on cable television since 2009.
The event drew an audience of 2,751,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, according to Nielsen, blowing away any past MMA events on the network. The Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver main event was the high point of the telecast, peaking at 3,162,000 viewers.
It was the most-watched MMA event on ad-supported cable television since The Ultimate Fighter: The Heavyweights Finale on Spike TV in December of 2009. The TUF 10 Finale drew an average audience of 3.7 million viewers, thanks in large part to Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, whose fight with Houston Alexander was the peak of the telecast with 5.2 million viewers.
Slice recently inked his return to MMA competition, signing a deal with Bellator MMA, which took the UFC’s slot on Spike after the MMA juggernaut signed a multi-year broadcast agreement with FOX.
UFC Fight Night 59 TV Rating Quick Facts:
– On the day, UFC Fight Night was the No. 1 show on ad-supported cable and the No. 2 show on all of television, outside of NFL programming, among M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54.
– FOX Sports 1 was the No. 1 network in ad-supported cable during the fight (10:00 PM-12:15 AM ET).
– Sunday was FOX Sports 1’s third most-watched Sunday (6:00 AM-3:00 AM), averaging 522,000 viewers, despite vicious competition form the NFC and AFC Championship Game broadcasts.
– Preceding the fight, the UFC preliminary card averaged 908,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched non-PPV prelims in FOX Sports 1 history behind the Ronda Rousey-Miesha Tate TUF Finale prelims in November 2013. It aired opposite the AFC Championship Game broadcast on CBS, and peaked during the final quarter-hour (9:45 PM ET -10:00 PM ET) with 1,486,000 viewers.
– Post-fight, FOX Sports Live averaged 1,167,000 viewers from 12:15 AM ET-1:00 AM ET, making it the most-watched Sunday edition of the program all time.
– Sunday’s UFC Fight Night drove FOX Sports GO to its largest authenticated UFC audience ever, outperforming the previous high (10/4/14) by +59% in total unique visitors.