The prelims for Saturday night's UFC 186 drew 710,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1, which was the ninth-best out of the 14 pay-per-view prelims thus far on the station.
All things considered, when you factor in this show was not expected to do well on pay-per-view, the show doing below average numbers wasn't a surprise. It was the lowest number of the year, also no surprise since interest in the show was far below any of the shows so far in 2015.
The last show to do less was UFC 180, which was the Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt show in November from Mexico City, where the prelims did 664,000 viewers. The record low is 436,000 for UFC 177, the show headlined by T.J. Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto. The normal level is about 800,000. Both UFC 177 and UFC 180 were estimated at doing less than 200,000 pay-per-view buys, a number that would be surprisingly high if UFC 186 came near it.
The rating peaked in the 9:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. quarter hour with 846,000 viewers, for the Patrick Cote vs. Joe Riggs welterweight bout.
There is usually a correlation between the ratings and the performance of the show on pay-per-view, but if this show does the ninth best on pay-per-view out of the 14 shows of the FS 1 era, that would be cause for celebration given both the lineup and its proximity to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
The Saturday night Wladimir Klitschko vs. Bryant Jennings boxing match on HBO did its biggest numbers of the year, with 1,637,000 viewers. Given the limited household reach of HBO as compared with Spike, FS 1 and the networks, that would be the most impressive combat sport rating so far this year. The Friday night Premier Boxing show on Spike did 569,000 viewers, going against both the NBA playoffs and the Bruce Jenner interview.
The UFC also delivered 322,000 viewers for its pre-fight show at 7 p.m.
Ratings are courtesy of A.C. Neilsen and measure both live viewing and delayed viewing of the program through midnight the night of the show.