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UFC 196 coverage brings in two new records for FOX Sports 1

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor may have lost to Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 196 on Saturday night, but for the second straight show, McGregor brought fans to television in near record numbers.

McGregor already held couple of records already with UFC's biggest live event ever on FS 1, with 2,751,000 viewers for the show he headlined on Jan. 18, 2015 in his win over Dennis Siver. He also holds the record for the most-watched fight ever on the station with 3,162,000 viewers. McGregor more recently was a key factor in the prelims of UFC 194, the last show he headlined, Dec. 12, being the most-watched pay-per-view prelims ever on FS 1, with 1,931,000 viewers.

This past Saturday's prelims, headlined by Brandon Thatch vs. Siyar Bahadurzada, did 1,843,000 viewers, the second-most for that type of a show on FS 1.

A record was set the day before as the weigh-ins on Friday night did 358,000 viewers, breaking the mark of 294,000 set for the McGregor vs. Jose Aldo weigh-ins. The pre-fight show on Saturday did 767,000 viewers, another record.

While it is too early to get accurate pay-per-view numbers, these numbers would seem to indicate a strong showing, coming off McGregor vs. Aldo being well above 1 million buys.

On Friday night, Bellator was also well above its usual levels for a show headlined by two former wrestling champions, 2006 world Greco-Roman champion Joe Warren losing to 2009 NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell.

The show did 768,000 viewers, peaking at 972,000 viewers for the Fernando Gonzalez vs. Gilbert Smith match that was the No. 2 bout on the show.

Even without a championship fight, or any other of Bellator's bigger name fighters, the show did 17 percent above its 2015 average for non-tentpole shows. It was up from the Cheick Kongo vs. Vinicius Queiroz-headlined show the prior Friday that did 733,000 viewers.

The key is that Bellator has done well above normal numbers for the two shows that followed the controversial Feb. 19 record-setting show. While the show featured heavily watched but poor headliners with Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 and Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie, some felt that having so many people see those fights and what transpired would turn people off to the product.

For the second straight week, it was clear that the number of new fans who have stuck with the product was greater than any number turned off.

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