UFC's Fight Night on Saturday, headlined by Lyoto Machida's five round decision win over Gegard Mousasi ended up being the third-most watched company broadcast since moving to Fox Sports 1 in August.
The event, airing from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., pulled a 1.04 rating and 1,400,000 viewers. On paper, that number would be a surprise given the later than usual time slot, and a main event that wouldn't appear to be something that would come close to record numbers. Not only that but the main event didn't even start until about 12:30 a.m. Eastern time.
FOX Sports 1 actually had the biggest day in the history of the station, paced by the Sprint Unlimited NASCAR race lead-in which drew 3,526,000 viewers, nearly double the previous record audience for any show on the station. This lead in gave UFC a far larger audience at the start than for any show it has had in many years.
It lost viewership during much of the show, since it was inflated by auto racing fans, but still never fell below 1 million viewers at any point. The audience rose back to 1.4 million viewers when the main event started.
What was notable was in the Male 18-34 demographic, the UFC show averaged 230,000 viewers while the NASCAR race, as big as it was and in a far better time slot, had 169,000 viewers.
The only UFC shows on the station to have beaten the 1.4 million mark were the debut show on the network, the Chael Sonnen vs. Shogun Rua fight on Aug. 17, which did 1,782,000 viewers, and the prelims before UFC 168, the biggest night of last year for the promotion, which did 1,554,000 viewers.