The UFC 142 Rio Prelims, which aired four bouts live on FX, drew just 880,000 viewers, which is the least watched UFC Prelims broadcast since the series began on Spike TV with UFC 103 in 2009.
The least-watched UFC Prelims broadcast ever on Spike TV was UFC 136, which drew in an average audience of 1,045,000 viewers. Over the life of the series on Spike TV, the UFC Prelims averaged 1.41 million viewers per episode.
UFC 142 Rio had been widely criticized as not having much drawing power, as far as name value goes, outside of the main event pitting Jose Aldo against Chad Mendes and Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson in the co-main event on pay-per-view.
FX Network is available in nearly 100 million homes, the same as Spike TV. FX, of course, has yet to benefit from the years of established audience that Spike built with The Ultimate Fighter, numerous live events, and other specials before the UFC Prelims series began.
The true test of the effect of the move to the Fox family of networks, and FX in particular, will come over time as the UFC and Fox are able to build significant cross-promotion around UFC programming, which also includes moving The Ultimate Fighter to FX.