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Mir vs. Silva ends up No. 5 on all-time FS 1 Fight Night viewership numbers

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

If there's a lesson of the past two months, it's that when UFC produces big fights, the increased interest carries over onto shows that otherwise wouldn't have the same level of interest.

After a show on Valentine's Day with Benson Henderson vs. Brandon Thatch, with no marquee names on the undercard, still did an above average level viewership, Sunday night's show, against the Oscars, drew the fifth-largest audience for a Fight Night on FS 1.

That was impressive given that the lineup hardly indicated a big number, and the show was headlined by a less than two-minute Frank Mir vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva main event . For the three hours, the show averaged 1,212,000 viewers, up 35 percent from the usual Fight Night.

A key point in this is that Sunday may be a better night for a live UFC television show than Saturday, the traditional fight night. Last month, UFC blew away all its FS 1 records with the Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver fight, which also came on a Sunday. The other tests on Sundays have always done surprisingly strong numbers.

The Mir vs. Silva main event peaked at 1,392,000 viewers. The number for the match and show would have almost surely increased had the match not ended so soon, because the usual rule is that the audience builds throughout the main event, which is why a long main event is so valuable to the overall ratings.

The show was only two fights deep when it came to known names, with both main eventers having headlined big shows for years. It also shows that even though Silva was coming off a quick knockout loss and Mir off a long losing streak, that it's the name value of the fighter, not as much as their recent records, that draws ratings. The co-feature was Michael Johnson vs. Edson Barboza, a battle of lightweight contenders.

The prelims, headlined by a women's fight with Jessica Andrade vs. Marion Reneau, drew 813,000 viewers, well above the average of 537,000 for Fight Night prelims during UFC's tenure on FS 1.

Another point seems to be that the brand itself is hot, as even with the negative publicity regarding drug test failures, the company did two strong pay-per-view shows in January, had its most successful FS 1 event paced by McGregor, and every event has performed well above usual averages, including Fight Nights that weren't loaded with star power.

Another note is that the rating in the Male 18-34 demo exceeded that of the Male 35-49 demo, which is very unusual for a modern UFC broadcast.

The post-fight coverage on Fox Sports Live did 312,000 viewers.

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