With no UFC events on ESPN, the televised MMA fare for the week came down to shows by Bellator and PFL.
Bellator’s Friday night show on Paramount headlined by Julia Budd retaining the featherweight title over Olga Rubin via first-round knockout did 325,000 viewers. The number was average for the promotion, ranking it fourth among the seven Paramount shows so far this year.
The Pro Fighters League show on Thursday on ESPN2 did 227,000 viewers, by far its best mark to date. The previous PFL shows have done between 100,000 and 150,000 viewers since they started with the ESPN family, with fights on ESPN2. The number was just slightly below the follow-up show, the Summer League Basketball game that did 246,000 viewers. This was the show to determine who went to the final four in women’s lightweight and men’s welterweight tournaments and was to include both Kayla Harrison and Sarah Kaufman, the two biggest women stars. Kaufman’s opponent missed weight so she didn’t fight and got a walkover win, while Harrison got a submission win, putting both women in the final four.
Bellator’s shows on Paramount are averaging 383,000 viewers, ranging from a low of 255,000 for the Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez fight on March 22 to a high of 697,000 viewers for the Ryan Bader vs. Fedor Emelianenko heavyweight title tournament final in Los Angeles on Jan. 26.
The next television cards will be UFC’s fourth ESPN Fight Night on Saturday from San Antonio headlined by welterweights Rafael dos Anjos (29-11) vs. Leon Edwards (17-3), the July 25 PFL show from Atlantic City featuring Akhmed Aliev (18-4) vs,. Chris Wade (15-5). The next Bellator show on Paramount will be Aug. 24 from Bridgeport, Conn., with Matt Mitrione (13-6) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (28-6).