The UFC's Saturday night show on FOX headlined by Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic did a 1.6 rating and 2.8 million viewers.
The viewer number was identical to last year's December show on FOX, headlined by Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez for the flyweight title. The 2.8 million viewers of that show was a 1.8 rating. The difference is that the average viewing home had 11 percent more people watching this year than last year, but the number of homes watching were 11 percent down from last year.
Saturday's show, billed as, "The biggest MMA show in broadcast television history," which had to be more based on the fact three of the four fights were heavyweight battles than the star power of the show, peaked at 3.8 million viewers watching the five-round main event.
With its biggest network competition being Christmas special programming, FOX won the night in the Male 18-34, Adults 18-34 and Male 18-49 demographics, as it would have been expected to do. The December and January FOX shows, due to being promoted on NFL games with huge adult male audiences, traditionally draw bigger numbers than the April and July shows.
The prelims that aired from 5-8 p.m. Eastern time on FS 1 did 654,000 viewers, up seven percent from the show one year earlier. Being up is impressive from last year because with one less fight on the show, due to the Derek Brunson illness that day, there was more non-fighting time than for a normal show, which usually leads to lower viewership.
The FOX show had competition from a World Series of Fighting show on NBC Sports Net, headlined by Rousimar Palhares vs. Jon Fitch. That show did 181,000 viewers, slightly below the usual average for the show. But the show also started nearly 30 minutes late due to a college basketball game going into double overtime, and usually the World Series shows aren't going head-to-head with a broadcast on FOX.
Friday's Ultimate Fighter finals, featuring Carla Esparza becoming the first UFC strawweight champion with a win over Rose Namajunas, did 989,000 viewers between 9 p.m. and 11:48 p.m. That number was almost identical to the 1 million viewers for the previous season finale, which also included a B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar fight. When you make that comparison, one has to consider the show number a success.
The Esparza vs. Namajunas title fight itself did 1,219,000 viewers.
The prelims of the TUF finale from 7-9 p.m., a show that featured four women fights headlined by Felice Herrig vs. Lisa Ward, did 719,000 viewers, down from 774,000 for the July TUF finale.
On Dec. 10, the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter, featuring Namajunas beating Randa Markos and Esparza beating Jessica Penne in the semifinals of the title tournament, did 508,000 viewers watching live and another 244,000 watching via DVR through Saturday night.
Ratings report: Dos Santos vs. Miocic FOX show pulls in 2.8 million viewers
Saturday night's UFC on FOX special, featuring the five-round war between Junior Dos Santos and Stipe Miocic on a mostly heavyweight fight card, did 2.8 million viewers overall, and peaked at 3.8 million viewers for the main event.