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UFC 204 prelims do 678,000 viewers, the lowest so far this year

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Going against both college football and baseball playoffs, the prelims to UFC 204 on Saturday night did just 678,000 viewers, the lowest so far this year.

The show peaked at 837,000 viewers for the Damian Stasiak third-round win over Davey Grant. The likely reason for the earlier than usual peak is because the Iuri Alcantara vs. Brad Pickett fight ended in 1:59, giving it little time to build a rating.

The number was 39 percent below the 2016 average, and down nine percent from the number for last year's October show.

Besides college football on CBS, NBC, FOX, and ESPN, the San Francisco Giants/Chicago Cubs game did 4,605,000 viewers on the MLB Network, making it the most-watched show on cable television that night.

The previous low for this year was for UFC 198 on May 14 — the prelims before the Stipe Miocic heavyweight title win over Fabricio Werdum — which did 786,000 viewers. The last time a UFC pay-per-view prelims did a lower number than this past weekend's show was on September 5, 2015, when the prelims before the Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson-headlined PPV show did 663,000 viewers.

The 2016 average for UFC PPV prelims is 1,108,000 viewers.

While there is not an exact correlation, most of the time when prelim numbers are down, the pay-per-view numbers end up being down as well. That was to be somewhat expected since PPV buyers are picking and choosing, and with all the hype centered around UFC 205 on Nov. 12 show at Madison Square Garden — an event arguably with the UFC's strongest lineup to date — UFC 204 became a show that casual fans might skip.

The prefight show did 277,000 viewers. The postfight show was on FOX Sports 2, and only did 37,000 viewers, the lowest ever for such a show.

The prior UFC pay-per-view show on Sept. 10, headlined by Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem and featuring the debut of pro wrestling crossover star CM Punk, did 870,000 viewers for the prelims, 289,000 viewers for the prefight show and 88,000 viewers for the postfight show, also on FS2.

The World Series of Fighting show on Friday night, headlined by David Branch vs. Vinny Magalhaes for the promotion's light heavyweight title, did 146,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network. The show had lost its advertised Justin Gaethje vs. Ozzy Dugulubgov lightweight title main event when Dugulubgov became ill before the fight. The Friday night show started at 11 p.m. ET, which held down viewers for the promotion that usually does around 200,000.

The Ultimate Fighter on Oct. 5 did 366,000 viewers, which is in range with what the show has been doing.

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