UFC on FOX 28, headlined by a featherweight fight between Jeremy Stephens and Josh Emmett, pulled in an average of 1.82 million viewers in the overnight ratings.
Now those numbers aren’t exactly eye busting but there are a lot of factors that play into the ratings actually being better than expected.
While UFC on FOX 28 did place last in total viewers out of the four major networks, the card did beat CBS in the 9 p.m. hour in the key 18-49 year old demographic.
Perhaps the most positive note about the ratings is that the UFC card on FOX was going up against some very stiff competition on Saturday night including the Winter Olympics on NBC as well as the NBA game of the week between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder on ABC.
The overnight ratings for UFC on FOX 28 beat the previous two UFC on FOX cards in December 2017 and January 2018 headlined by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza against Derek Brunson as well as the title eliminator between former champion Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos.
Now both of those shows did historically bad ratings for the UFC on FOX but those cards failed to produce much interest despite being promoted heavily during NFL games that were airing on the network in December and January.
Stephens vs. Emmett didn’t have any programming on FOX to build from, which means it was a more home grown audience tuning into watch the fights.
One more note — Stephens’ last fight against Dooho Choi that aired on FS1 did very good numbers as well with the main event peaking at 1.39 million viewers so it’s entirely possible the veteran UFC slugger enticed a few people back to watch his next performance on Saturday night, which also ended by knockout.
The final ratings for the UFC on FOX card will increase slightly once the final numbers are released on Tuesday but probably won’t tick up too much higher considering the main event ended just after 10 p.m., which can often times affect the ratings if the majority of the bout takes place after that cutoff.
The next UFC on FOX card is scheduled for April 14 and features a lightweight showdown between two very exciting fighters as Dustin Poirier takes on Justin Gaethje with a very good co-main event for television as Carlos Condit faces Matt Brown. Both Condit and Brown have performed on solid FOX cards in the past and carry good name value so it will be interesting to see how those ratings perform compared to recent events.