A record tying seven first-round finishes meant less fighting time than usual, but the explosive nature of Saturday's UFC Fight Night led to beating the prior week's show for the best show numbers since February.
FS 1 averaged 950,000 viewers for the main card, peaking with 1,208,000 viewers for the quarter hour that included the 28-second Dan Henderson stoppage of Tim Boetsch. The prelims averaged 782,000 viewers. The post-fight rundown show did 660,000 viewers, also well above usual levels.
The numbers are impressive because the main card only had 21 minutes of total fight time in a two-and-a-half hour window, and fight ratings peak during match time.
In comparison, the May 30 show from Goiania, Australia, with Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves as a main event, did 813,000 viewers for the main show and 713,000 for the prelims. Those had been the best numbers since the February 23 show headlined by Frank Mir vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva did averaged 1,212,000 viewers for the main card.
Based on prime time averages for Fight Night shows, Saturday's main card was 11 percent above usual and the prelims were 50 percent above usual. The combination of women's World Cup soccer and UFC made FS 1 the top rated ad supported sports cable network for Saturday night.
The major sports competition was HBO boxing, with Miguel Cotto vs. Daniel Geale averaging 1,421,000 viewers. HBO is in less than half the number of homes as FS 1.
Friday night's World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports Network averaged 203,000 viewers for a show headlined by Lance Palmer vs. Chris Horodecki for the featherweight title. The numbers are slightly above the 196,000 average for WSOF on that network.
On Sunday, a 30-minute feature on the American Kickboxing Academy, called UFC Training Day, that aired at 5:30 p.m. on FS 1, did a strong 437,000 viewers for that type of a show in an afternoon time slot. The show focused on Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Josh Thomson and other fighters from the San Jose-based camp. However, the Countdown to UFC 188, built around the Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum and Gilbert Melendez vs. Eddie Alvarez top matches for this coming Saturday in Mexico City, did 61,000 viewers.