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UFC Fight Night 78 ratings fall below average against football and boxing

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Saturday night's UFC Fight Night from Monterrey, Mexico, headlined by Neil Magny's win over Kelvin Gastelum, did 750,000 viewers, the third lowest prime time Fight Night number of the year on FS 1.

Getty Images via Zuffa LLC

Going against a plethora of college football games and the Canelo Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto fight, UFC Fight Night 78 from Monterrey, Mexico fell well below its usual prime time average ratings.

The event, headlined by a welterweight fight where Neil Magny won a close five-round decision over Kelvin Gastelum, did 750,000 viewers for a main card that went about three-and-a-half hours.

Of the 14 prime time Fight Night shows this year, this past weekend's show, where Magny was a late replacement for Matt Brown, was the third least-watched prime time Fight Night of the year, coming seven days after a pay-per-view event that is expected to be the strongest of the year.

The show was 13-percent below the prime time main card average for Fight Nights in 2015 on FOX Sport 1, not factoring in the January Conor McGregor show that renders the average misleading.

Besides a boxing match that was expected to be the second biggest pay-per-view from that sport this year, the show also went against five major college football games, on FOX, ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and Notre Dame on NBC Sports Network.

The length of the show may have been a factor, with five decisions leading to it being the longest show of the year. The show peaked at 952,000 viewers for the Horacio Gutierrez vs. Enrique Barzola TUF Latin America lightweight tournament final.

What was a surprise is that the prelims, headlined by Erik Perez vs. Taylor Lapilus, did 732,000 viewers. The number was nearly identical to that of the main card.

With the exception of a June show, where the prelims came directly after a highly rated World Cup women's soccer game on FOX Sports 1 featuring the United States team, the prelims haven't come close to the rating of the main card all year. It was the 11th highest rated prelims for a Fight Night show since UFC went to FS1.

The pre-fight show on Saturday did 362,000 viewers, the second highest for a non-PPV event pre-fight show on FS1, trailing only the 489,000 viewers for the pre-fight show for the Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva fight on Feb. 22.

Friday night, Bellator averaged 650,000 viewers for a show headlined by Melvin Manhoef's first-round 'Knockout of the Year' candidate win over Hisaki Kato. Bellator's main fights were going against a highly rated NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors.

The Bellator number is along the lines of what a normal show for the promotion would do.

Bellator peaked at 867,000 viewers during the first hour of the show.

Moved out of prime time, the World Series of Fighting's lightweight  tournament on Friday night did 148,000 viewers from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. WSOF had been doing in the 200,000 range starting earlier in the night.