It should be no surprise nor anything alarming that Saturday's UFC on Fuel show from Macau was the least-watched televised live event in company history.
The event aired from 9 a.m. ET to noon ET on Saturday morning on the East Coast and 6 a.m. PT to 9 a.m. PT on the West Coast, where UFC has its strongest U.S. popularity base. The original broadcast did 88,000 viewers on Fuel. The replay airing at 7 p.m. ET, which was still a late afternoon start on the West Coast, did 143,000 viewers.
Because of the uniqueness of the time slots, any reaction to the numbers of the show headlined by Cung Le's spectacular first-round knockout of Rich Franklin should be along the lines of, "it is what it is." UFC even did a tongue-in-cheek commercial airing on Fuel leading to the show where the alarm went off and ring girl Arianny Celeste was yelling at a guy in bed to get up since the fights were starting, which was likely the real-life reaction when alarms went off at the homes of its most loyal fans on the West Coast.
For a comparison, the previous UFC on Fuel show, on Sept. 29 from Nottingham, England, which aired live at 4 p.m. Eastern time, did 111,000 viewers. It had a replay at 10 p.m., which put in the normal Saturday night time slot people are used to watching UFC fights, and did 140,000 viewers.
When factoring in that both airings of the last show were in more attractive time slots for the UFC audience, you'd have to say Saturday's show in comparison did better. But it also should have given Franklin is a far bigger established name than anyone on the Nottingham show, which was headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Stefan Struve.
Because of the time slot, the audience really can't be fairly compared to that of any of the five previous events on Fuel, most of which aired live in prime time.
On Friday night, both UFC and Bellator were down from unusually high figures on Nov. 2.
Ultimate Fighter did 921,000 viewers, down 13 percent from the season high of 1,061,000 the week before. But it's still the fourth-highest rating of the season. Considering how low the numbers were just a few weeks, bottoming out at 624,000 viewers on Oct. 12, and have been all season, the number has to be viewed as a positive.
Bellator earlier Friday night did 148,000 viewers, the second-lowest number of the season. It's down 33 percent from the season high of 220,000 set last week. The average for this season's seven episodes stands at 169,000.
It should be noted that MTV 2, which airs Bellator, is in more than double the number of homes as Fuel, so a direct viewer comparison saying Bellator did similar numbers to the most-viewed replay of UFC on Fuel would be misleading.
The Bellator show was headlined by Joe Warren vs. Owen Evinger, and one semifinal match in both the featherweight and heavyweight tournaments.