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UFC 210 prelims do second-worst ratings in two years

Saturday’s UFC prelims, headlined by Myles Jury’s quick win over Mike De La Torre were the lowest of 2017, and lower than all but one pay-per-view prelim show in 2016.

UFC 210 photos
Myles Jury finished Mike De La Torre in the first round on the UFC 210 prelims.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The ratings for the UFC 210 prelims on FS1, prior to the Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson pay-per-view card, did 723,000 viewers, the lowest of the three such events so far this year.

The viewership was also lower than all but one of the pay-per-view prelims of 2016. The only show last year that did a lower number was the prelims before UFC 204, the Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson middleweight title fight. That show did 678,000 viewers going against a number of college football games as well as the Major League Baseball playoffs.

This number came on a night of light sports competition. ESPN aired college hockey head-to-head that did 467,000 viewers, which meant FS1 was the top-rated sports station in prime time.

The most-watched sports event of the night was an NBA broadcast on ABC that did 1,931,000 viewers. The other most-watched sports event on cable Saturday night was the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa boxing match on HBO that drew 832,000 viewers for the main event. The Lomachenko fight started at 11:49 p.m. ET, long after the UFC prelims were over, but did go head-to-head with the pay-per-view.

The prelims for UFC 208, prior to the pay-per-view headlined by Germaine de Randamie vs. Holly Holm to create a women's featherweight champion, did 874,000 viewers. The UFC 209 prelims did 1,033,000 viewers, prior to the Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson welterweight title fight. That show also went against far tougher sports competition.

The prelims Saturday were headlined by Myles Jury vs. Mike De La Torre and didn't have any marquee stars. The peak rating was 893,000 viewers for the Sean Strickland vs. Kamaru Usman fight. The Usman fight beating out the main event is likely because it went three rounds, giving it time to build a rating, while Jury vs. De La Torre was a first round finish.

Prelims are more often than not a good indicator of how the pay-per-view show will do, but they are far from a perfect correlation. It's too early to get an accurate pay-per-view number, but Cormier vs. Johnson was expected to do in the same range on pay-per-view as Woodley vs. Thompson, and significantly above Holm vs. de Randamie.

FOX aired a Road to the Octagon special to build to this coming Saturday's fight, featuring Demetrious Johnson's flyweight title defense against Wilson Reis and a Michelle Waterson vs. Rose Namajunas co-feature. The preview show aired at noon Sunday in most of the country and did 559,000 viewers.

The UFC 210 pre-fight show on FS1 started 45 minutes late due to a long running baseball game, and did 268,000 viewers. The post-fight show on FS 1 did 160,000 viewers. For a comparison, those same shows did 453,000 and 205,000 for the UFC 209 show.

Bellator also ran two events on Saturday. The MMA show headlined by Rafael Carvalho's middleweight title defense against Melvin Manhoef from Torino, Italy, drew 438,000 viewers airing from 3 p.m. to 5:24 p.m.

Spike officials were happy with that number considering the non-prime time slot. Taped shows from Europe airing in primetime usually do substantially more viewers, but going in the afternoon avoided going head-to-head with the UFC.

The Bellator kickboxing matches that followed, from 5:24 p.m. to 7:35 p.m., did 386,000 viewers.

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