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Saturday’s prelims draw smallest UFC TV number in more than a year

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC’s prelims on Saturday on ESPN2 drew the company’s lowest television numbers in more than a year, with 232,000 viewers.

The low number was largely due to it being both on the lower-rated ESPN 2, and it starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time and 7 a.m. on the West Coast. In addition, there were no major names in the six fights that aired in the three-hour time slot.

There was a battle of top-15 ranked heavyweights with Shamil Abdurakhimov beating Marcin Tybura on the undercard. A fight with Mosvar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi was used in the televised version of the show’s top slot.

This would be the second morning show on ESPN2 since UFC started its new television deal in January. A Feb. 23 event from London, the prelims before a show headlined by Thiago Santos vs. Jan Blachowicz, did 271,000 viewers. That show also had no major names, but was helped by starting an hour later.

This was the lowest audience for a UFC live broadcast on television since Oct. 28, 2017, a Fight Night show from Sao Paulo, Brazil, which did 198,000 viewers.

That number being lower was because it was on FS2, which is available in about 50 million, compared to close to 85 million for ESPN2.

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