Bellator 155's Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef Bellator middleweight title fight on Friday night was one of those things you'd probably want to forget.
The fight wasn't particularly entertaining. The 40-year-old Manhoef's road to the title shot was winning three of his last seven MMA fights as well as losing a kickboxing match on Spike on April 16. Yet, almost everyone believed the former major star of Japanese MMA and kickboxing's glory days took the title from Carvalho. Well, except two of the three judges. The verdict, with Carvalho retaining via split decision, was so bad that Bellator's own announcers, Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith, were openly appalled by it.
As far as the viewership went, the show did right as Bellator's normal levels, with 653,000 viewers watching the show live, with the highest quarter hour during the main event doing 779,000. If you figure in DVR viewership over the next three nights, the show did 715,000 viewers. The main event averaged 812,000 viewers, and peaked at 916,000 viewers.
For a normal Bellator show in 2016, factoring out the Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie and Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 record-setter, the promotion is averaging 662,000 viewers for live shows. The number when it comes to normal shows is almost identical to what the promotion has been averaging since coming on the station, not factoring in Scott Coker's tentpole type shows that have led to numbers increasing significantly.
The Bellator event was the second most-watched sports event on the night, trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup Playoff game that did 1,561,000 viewers.
While DVR viewership doesn't lead to major changes with live sports, with Bellator's gain of 9.5 percent more than most, when it comes to taped sports programming, people are more and more watching at their own convenience.
The most obvious example is this season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). The May 18 episode of TUF did 361,000 viewers that night. But between Thursday and Saturday night, another 264,000 viewers watched it, a gain of a whopping 73 percent. The 625,000 combined number is up 22 percent from the same time period last year.
Ratings Report: Bellator 155's main event yields bad decision, but normal numbers
Friday night's Rafael Carvalho Bellator middleweight title defense against Melvin Manhoef, a disputed decision in favor of the champion, did normal Bellator numbers with 653,000 viewers live and 715,000 including DVR viewership.