The UFC reversed their ratings decline on Versus by drawing 744,000 viewers for UFC on Versus 4. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to beat Spike TV’s competing re-broadcast of UFC Fight Night 22 which drew 793,000 viewers.
UFC on Versus 4 had originally been scheduled to feature Nate Marquardt in his welterweight debut against Rick Story. Everything got gummed up when Pennsylvania authorities declined to medically clear Marquardt due to his elevated testosterone levels from his testosterone replacement therapy.
That complicated everyone’s plans — not least Spike TV which had thoughtfully booked an entire day of UFC counter-programming featuring Nate the Great. Nevertheless, nearly 800,000 viewers were more interested in seeing Marquardt’s old bout with Rousimar Palhares rather than Versus’ substitute main event — Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo.
As things turned out, the Barry-Kongo fight featured more action than a whole Marquardt marathon as the two heavyweights engaged in a back-and-forth brawl with an unbelievable ending.
What this all means for the UFC’s ongoing efforts to land a new televsion deal I don’t really know. They managed to arrest their ratings decline on Versus — up from 681,000 for UFC on Versus 3. They didn’t manage match the first two installments, both of which featured current light heavyweight Jon Jones and came in around the million viewer mark.
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