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Ratings report: Tough competition puts down UFC and Bellator weekend numbers

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Going against five nationally televised college football games and Major League Baseball playoffs this past Saturday night, the UFC 216 prelims did 653,000 viewers on FX.

The number was the lowest to date for any pay-per-view prelims on FX, and the second-lowest prelims in nearly three years on a station with close to full national cable distribution, meaning any station they aired on except FS 2.

There have been three lesser watched prelims in UFC's history on FS 1, but none since UFC 179, the Oct. 25, 2014, show headlined by Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes for the featherweight title. It would have beaten all of the prelim shows that aired on FS 2, and the other show that it was well ahead of was the 418,000 last month for the Sept. 9 show on FXX, which were the prelims before the UFC 215, headlined by Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko for the women's bantamweight title.

Saturday's show, headlined by Cody Stamann winning a split decision over Thomas Duquesnoy, would have been the second lowest of the year, which is not a good sign for the pay-per-view number. The show also did the lowest gate in more than a decade for a pay-per-view show in Las Vegas, at $677,999.50. The show featured one of UFC's stronger fights of the year, the draw between Bobby Green and Lando Vannata, which was awarded fight of the night honors.

Stamann vs. Duquesnoy was the highest-rated fight, doing 756,000 viewers.

The most-watched sports event of the night was the Michigan State vs. Michigan football game on ABC, doing 6,508,000 viewers. ESPN, ESPN 2, FOX and FS 1 also televised college football. The Kansas State vs. Texas game on FS 1 did 1,266,000 viewers, a number that beat every UFC pay-per-view prelim show this year,.

The pre-show on FX did 324,000 viewers. The post-fight show, which aired on FS 1, did 221,000 viewers.

The weigh-ins on FS 1 on Friday night did 171,000 viewers, which is well above usual.

Bellator also didn't have good ratings news as Friday night's card, which was headlined by Darrion Caldwell's bantamweight title win over Eduardo Dantas, did 437,000 viewers, going against baseball playoffs as well as two college football games.