The UFC and Spike TV sent out press releases today to get word out that the Saturday night re-play of UFC 100 got big ratings among the coveted men 18-34 demographic -- ratings that dwarfed those of Saturday night's live Strikeforce MMA show, which was available to far fewer viewers on Showtime.
The press release says Spike TV's telecast of UFC 100 drew 513,000 men 18-34 -- more than any other show on television on Saturday. The show had 2 million viewers, a 1.8 rating in men 18-34, a 1.7 rating in men 18-49 and a 1.5 household rating. Men 18-34 are the viewers advertisers covet most, and those are very good numbers in the key demographic.
Spike also boasted that the numbers were better than the CBS broadcast of the PGA Championship (479,000 viewers in the demographic), Major League Baseball on Fox (242,000) and Strikeforce on Showtime (181,000).
It's that last one that really matters: The UFC decided to re-play the Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir fight on Spike because it wanted to take some wind out of the sails of Strikeforce, which is positioning itself as the UFC's competitor. Comparing Spike ratings to Showtime ratings is tricky because Spike is in about five times as many households as Showtime, but the decision to put UFC 100 on Spike Saturday night was all about picking a fight with Strikeforce, andthe UFC's press release was their way of declaring that they just Round 1.
UPDATE: Showtime later sent out a statement saying the Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg fight was the most-watched MMA program in Showtime history.