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UFC on FOX 29 does 1,780,000 viewers on fast nationals

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What promised to be a fight of the year candidate, and delivered, didn’t lead to stronger-than-usual ratings as it was the fourth-lowest fast national number in UFC on FOX history.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dustin Poirier’s win Saturday night over Justin Gaethje may have been the best UFC main event, and arguably the company’s most exciting fight so far this year, but it was not a major hit from a ratings standpoint.

The 29th installment of UFC on FOX did 1,780,000 viewers based on the fast nationals, and an 0.55 in the 18-49. FOX was the lowest rated overall among the four networks largely due to ABC and CBS programming appealing more strongly to the larger audience over the age of 50.

The UFC on FOX placed second among the four networks in 18-49, Male 18-49 and 18-34, trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup playoff game on NBC in all three categories. The NHL game did 2,180,000 viewers on the fast nationals.

The number would be the fourth lowest for fast nationals since UFC started airing regular Saturday night specials on FOX in late 2011. It would be slightly ahead of last year’s show on a similar weekend, headlined by Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight title defense against Wilson Reis, which did 1.74 million viewers.

The fast national measure viewership on FOX stations from 8-10 p.m. ET, 7 -9 p.m. CT, 6-8 p.m. MT and 8-10 p.m. PT, which means this measures local programming on West Coast channels, and not West Coast viewership of the UFC show.

The actual ratings, which comes out on Tuesday, should be significantly higher. The main event, which will almost surely be the highest rated part of the show, started at 10 p.m., meaning it wasn’t figured into this number. The fight going into the fourth round gave it plenty of time to build an audience, and it’s possible, with the quality of the fight, that the audience growth past 10 p.m. would be greater than usual.