There was a lot of MMA on television this past week, with two UFC television events and a Bellator show heading the list. None of the three were major blockbuster shows, and the ratings reflected that.
Saturday's UFC show, the company's debut in Glasgow, Scotland, headlined by Michael Bisping's decision win over Thales Leites, did 508,000 viewers for the main card that aired from 1 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. ET The peak quarter hour, the last two rounds of the main event, did 731,000 viewers.
The numbers were in line with the two previous afternoon events Fox Sports (FS) 1 has aired this year. The April 4 show with Chad Mendes vs. Ricardo Lamas did 389,000 viewers for the main card in a similar time slot. The May 16 airing of the Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar-led show from the Philippines, which started at 10 a.m. Eastern time, did 575,000 viewers, which in hindsight shows how impressive that number and how big of a television fight that was.
The prelims on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m., did 292,000 viewers, down slightly from the prelims to Mendes vs. Lamas, that did 304,000 viewers, but ahead of the prelims at the Philippines, which started at 8 a.m., and did 246,000 viewers.
The UFC show was the most-watched show on FS 1 on Saturday, ahead of both major league baseball games that followed. It's notable that FS 1's prime time game on Saturday night did 444,000 viewers, which slightly more than half of what a normal Saturday night UFC Fight Night event would deliver.
On Friday night, Bellator's nearly three hour night of welterweights show, headlined by Andrey Koreshkov winning the 170 pound title from Douglas Lima, averaged 722,000 viewers. That figure is slightly above what most of Bellator's non-major events deliver on Friday nights.
The five-round main event averaged 890,000 viewers and peaked at 977,000 viewers.
The rare Wednesday night live event by UFC from San Diego, with Frank Mir's quick knockout of Todd Duffee as the main event, did an average of 801,000 viewers for the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. main card. The figure is a little below the 2015 prime time average for UFC (849,000 not including the Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver show which skews the average greatly). But this show being on a Wednesday, as opposed to Saturday, and with the late air time on a work night, that figure shouldn't be taken as a negative.
Those at FS 1 were looking at least year's show in the same time slot over the same week in July, a show with Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller, which did 640,000 viewers, as a direct comparison, so this was up 25 percent in total viewers and 36 percent in the 18-49 target demographic.
The show's peak quarter hour was 928,000 viewers from 11:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., which would be the latter stages of the Manny Gamburyan vs. Scott Jorgensen fight. With it being a work night, it would make sense that the audience would fade after 11:30 p.m.
The prelims did 543,000 viewers, which would be the second-lowest for a prime time FS 1 Fight Night so far this year. But it was up from the 415,000 the similar show in the same time slot did last year.
All ratings are compiled by Neilsen.
Ratings Report: Michael Bisping vs. Thales Leites peaks at 731,000 viewers for afternoon slot
UFC had two live shows and Bellator had one over the past week, and there were no great surprises in the ratings. Saturday's UFC afternoon show did 508,000 viewers on average, Bellator's Friday night show did 722,000 and UFC's Wednesday night show did 801,000.