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UFC 192 prelims average 749,000 viewers against heavy football competition

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Going against strong college football competition, the prelims for Saturday's UFC 192 show, drew the fourth-lowest audience of the 11 shows of its kind so far in 2015.

Leading up to the show, headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson's light heavyweight title match, the prelim show FS 1, averaged 749,000 viewers. The show aired from 8-10 p.m. Eastern time.

The main event of the prelims was a featherweight fight with Yair Rodriguez vs. Daniel Hooker. The best known name on the prelims was likely Rose Namajunas, who opened the show against Angela Hill, although both Sage Northcutt and Albert Tumenov put on star-making performances and Northcutt may have made himself into a star with his 57-second win over Francisco Trevino..

The number was 22 percent below the 2015 average of 964,000 viewers. This year's numbers are well up from last year because of more interest in the pay-per-view shows overall. While there is no exact correlation between prelims and pay-per-view numbers, more often than not here is some indication.

From an FS 1 standpoint the number was considered a positive, being up 40 percent from the 536,000 viewers that the prelims before last year's October show did.  That was for UFC 179, the second Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes featherweight title fight. It was also up 56 percent in the key 18-49 demo from last year.

The peak viewership was 883,000 viewers for the Tumenov vs. Alan Jouban welterweight fight.

All sports programming takes a hit during football season, and UFC is no exception.

On Saturday night, UFC was going head-to-head with Notre Dame vs. Clemson on ABC, Arizona State vs. UCLA on FOX, Florida vs. Mississippi on ESPN and Tennessee vs. Arkansas on ESPN 2.  That alone accounted for roughly 20 percent of all the television viewing in prime time on Saturday night.

Another factor is the limited amount of fight time. With four first-round finishes, there was only 24 minutes of fighting in five fights that aired during the two hours.

The UFC pre-fight show, which only aired for ten minutes from 7:50 p.m. 8 p.m., because college football ran long, did 569,000 viewers. The post-fight show did 254,000 viewers. For a comparison, last month, for UFC 191, the pre-fight show did 291,000 viewers and post-fight show did 249,000 viewers.

The most recent episode of Ultimate Fighter on FS 1, the fourth episode of the Conor McGregor vs. Urijah Faber season, which aired on Sept. 30, did 538,000 viewers.  DVR numbers are not available, but the first three episodes are averaging a 50 percent increase in viewership when DVR viewers over the next three days are factored in

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