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Ratings report: Bellator finishes strong while GSP sets Quebec marks


Bellator finished its ninth season with its third-best mark of the season Friday night, hitting an average of 691,000 viewers for the show from Bethlehem, Pa. It was headlined by Alexander Shlemenko's first-round stoppage of Doug "Rhino" Marshall to retain the middleweight title.

The main event peaked viewership at 1,009,000. It was the third main event to hit seven figures during the season after the far high-profile fights with Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler for the lightweight title on Nov. 2, and the Rampage Jackson vs. Joey Beltran fight on Nov. 15.

A promising sign is there has been a measurable increase in the Friday night ratings since the Nov. 2 show, meaning that show was successful, in at least short-term, in upping interest in the promotion. While the prior two weeks it could be argued was due to featuring former UFC stars Cheick Kongo and Rampage Jackson in the main event, this past Saturday's show featured only one fighter who had a UFC name, Terry Etim, in the television opener.

At press time, no announcements have been made regarding Bellator's 2014 schedule, and whether it will remain on Friday nights. The promotion did stronger numbers on Thursdays in its first season on Spike in early 2013, benefiting by it being a night when more of the target audience is home watching television, and due to having a pro wrestling lead-in. But it was moved away from Thursday for the fall season to avoid competition from the NFL, which had in the past hurt The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) ratings when that show was on Spike.

Spike also had good news with its second Glory kickboxing show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, doing 476,000 viewers. That's up 25 percent from the debut broadcast on Oct. 12, which did 381,000 viewers. That show, from Chicago, had strong post-show word-of-mouth. Saturday's went against the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios fight. It's still barely half of the network average and would not on its own be considered a successful number. But it was at least a good measurable increase, and even stronger in Spike's key demo, with a 52 percent increase in Males 18-49. The Glory promotion started out with a product that has not had a lot of popularity in recent times in the U.S., and had no stars who were well-known to the U.S. audience.

While no pay-per-view numbers on a national or North American basis are available at this time for UFC 167, the show was a big hit in Georges St-Pierre's home market of Quebec.

Indigo, which handles the pay-per-view in the province, sent out a release saying UFC 167 broke the record for most buys since it was bought by Videotron in 2009. The key point is that would include the March St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight, which was one of the strongest North American pay-per-views in UFC history.

The release stated that attendance in sports bars and restaurants in Quebec for the fight were also at record levels.

While St-Pierre is Canada's biggest pay-per-view draw, and the UFC far outdoes boxing within Quebec, boxing is far stronger than the rest of the country. Boxing matches like Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch and Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins over the past few years had beaten previous St-Pierre marks within Quebec.

There are no preliminary indications that the U.S. pay-per-view numbers for UFC 167 were anywhere near record levels.

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