UFC on FOX 27 was low on star power and the result in ratings showed.
The overnight numbers for the latest UFC card on FOX headlined by middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson drew just 1.593 million viewers on average over the two hour broadcast, making it the lowest rated UFC broadcast on FOX in history.
The previous low was set by the middleweight main event between former champion Chris Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum last July with 1.64 million viewers on average.
UFC on FOX 27 was the lowest in total viewers among the four major networks, although the show did draw a larger share of the coveted 18-49 year old demographic than CBS (NCIS and SEAL Team) but both of the shows that aired during the 8 to 10 p.m. time slot were repeats.
The highest rated program during that time on Saturday night was the NBA Saturday Primetime game of the week between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, which drew 3.7 million viewers on average.
In the past, UFC cards on FOX in January have done much stronger ratings thanks in part to the additional advertising received from NFL games being played to help promote the show. The first UFC on FOX card in 2012 drew 4.37 million viewers on average but every event since then has seen a steady decline in ratings.
Last year’s UFC on FOX card in January featuring the main event between Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena drew 2.016 million viewers overnight.
While it was probably expected that the card wouldn’t produce monster ratings thanks to a lack in star power at the top of the card, it’s still disappointing considering the lack of overall competition on Saturday night in a month where the UFC has traditionally done strong numbers.
It also doesn’t bode well for the UFC in a current contract year where they are shopping for a new television deal when their broadcast rights with FOX expire at the end of 2018.
It’s not likely the UFC will see a big boost next month either with the next FOX card taking place in February headlined by a last minute main event between Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens.
The final ratings for the card won’t be released until Tuesday, which will see at least a slight bump in total numbers, but because the main event fight between Souza and Brunson ended before 10 p.m. ET, it’s not likely the ratings will jump all that much.