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UFC 177 preliminary card attracts 436,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1

With late drop-outs cutting the show down to three fights instead of the usual four, UFC 177 prelims on Fox Sports 1 did their lowest viewership number to date, with 436,000, down 49 percent from the station's average.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In what can't be considered a good sign for the pay-per-view numbers, Saturday's UFC 177 prelims on Fox Sports 1 did 436,000 viewers.

That was the lowest number for UFC prelims on an outlet with true national penetration in its history. The previous FS 1 low was 628,000 viewers for the UFC 166 prelims on October 19, 2013.  The number was barely half of what the average of 859,000 since the move to FS 1.

There were a number of obvious reasons. The first is that there were only three fights, instead of the usual four, meaning more down time between fights, and on UFC shows, the audience peaks during fights. The second is the holiday weekend, although that excuse only goes so far, considering last year's prelims over Labor Day weekend did 809,000 viewers. The other is that the pay-per-view itself wasn't a show with much general public appeal, particularly when the main event of T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao fell apart the day before the show.

While there is not a perfect correlation between the ratings for the preliminary fights and eventual pay-per-view numbers, they are a good indicator much of the time. Over the last year,  since FS 1 became UFC's flagship station, the three most successful pay-per-view shows were UFC 168, UFC 167 and UFC 175. They also drew the three biggest prelim show numbers over the similar period.

However, the previous low for UFC 166, the show headlined by Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos III, did middle of the pack pay-per-view numbers. On the flip side, UFC 169, the show headlined by Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber, did strong numbers for he prelims, but was not as successful on pay-per-view.

The UFC did have a successful number in Mexico for the second episode of TUF Latin America. After the first episode did a peak quarter of 7.2 million viewers on Televisa, the second episode, going head-to-head with the Video Music Awards, nearly equaled it doing 6.6 million viewers.

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