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Against tough competition, Reyes vs. Weidman event does UFC’s best ESPN2 numbers

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Friday’s show averaged 805,000 viewers, peaking at 1 million

Dominick Reyes and Chris Weidman
Thomas Lakes, MMA Fighting

On a night with a lot of sports competition, UFC did its best numbers ever on ESPN2 this past Friday night.

The UFC on ESPN 6 event, headlined by Chris Weidman’s unsuccessful move to light heavyweight, where he lost via first-round stoppage to Dominick Reyes, averaged 805,000 viewers.

That’s a strong number for ESPN2, and even beat out the Top Rank Boxing show on ESPN that went head-to-head and did 635,000 viewers.

The Reyes vs. Weidman main event did 1 million viewers, and would have likely done well over that figure had it went longer.

The number was impressive, both because of the station and competition, and because Friday of late has not been a strong night overall for MMA television numbers.

Among the key competition was the New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros American League baseball championship series, which did 5,632,000 viewers, Smackdown on FOX did 2,418,000 viewers and College Football on both ESPN and the Big Ten Network.

ESPN2 was fifth in its time slot on cable in 18-49 overall, fourth in males 18-49 and third in males 18-34.

For the previous weekend, which had four live MMA events on national television (UFC’s show from Denmark was streaming and not television), Combate Americas on Univision was the big winner with 411,000 viewers for a midnight Friday night time slot show.

This beat earlier prime time offerings on Oct. 11 of 202,000 viewers for Bellator on Paramount and 165,000 viewers for the Professional Fight League playoffs on ESPN2.

It also beat the 264,000 viewers for ONE Century, the company’s first live show on TNT. That show, from Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo, featured longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.