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UFC 232 prelims peak at 1.46 million viewers

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There is good early news for UFC 232’s business metrics as the prelims on FS 1 averaged 1.15 million viewers.

This would be the second-biggest number of 2018, for the final airing of MMA on FS 1. The number trailed only UFC 229, the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs,. Conor McGregor, which did 1.3 million viewers, and those prelims led to what was, by far, the largest UFC PPV number in history with nearly 2.4 million worldwide buys.

UFC 232 got a lot of late week publicity due to the controversy of Jon Jones fighting while having three failed tests for the steroid Turbinabol between Aug. 29 and Dec. 9, which caused the show to be moved from Las Vegas. The NAC wanted a hearing before sanctioning the fight, but the CSAC had no issue licensing the fight at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Jones defeated Alexander Gustafsson in the main event, and all the publicity regarding Jones overwhelmed that the biggest women’s MMA fight in history as far as greatest of all time ramifications were concerned was also on the show, with the Amanda Nunes win over Cris Cyborg for the featherweight title.

The prelims peaked at 1.46 million viewers for the Walt Harris vs. Andrei Arlovski fight, the last UFC fight on any FOX network for at least the next five years.

No pay-per-view estimates are out this early, but going in, it was expected to be the second largest of the year behind only UFC 229. Good ratings usually lead to large pay-per-view numbers.

The best predictor for pay-per-view numbers are Google searches, and the show did 2.4 million, a number in the range of what Jones’ previous fights with Daniel Cormier did.

FS 1 was second on cable during its time period, and ranked second among everything on both cable and broadcast networks during that time period overall among viewers 18-34, as well as all key men’s demos under the age of 50.

UFC on FS 1 trailed only the Alabama vs. Oklahoma football game which was a ratings monster, averaging 19.4 million viewers head-to-head.

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