In a tweet posted by Carleton Curtis, Fox Sports’ Sr. Director of Digital Strategy, the UFC’s Fight Night 36 event in Brazil last Saturday pulled in an average of 1.4 million viewers on Fox Sports 1, making it the 2nd highest rated Fight Night event in the young network’s history.
Machida vs Mousasi = 1.4M viewers. Most-watched UFC Fight Night since 1.78M launch on @FOXSports1 #ratings
— Carleton Curtis (@carletoncurtis) February 19, 2014
The “launch” Curtis is referring to is Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen, arguably one of the best cable TV shows the UFC has ever put on.
This is very encouraging news considering Fight Night 35 averaged just 629,000, which stands as the lowest rated UFC show on FS1 to date. Keep in mind though that since the UFC moved from FX to FS1, the goal has been to broadcast cards on Wednesdays and effectively block off the night time programming specifically for UFC programming. Their highest rated Fight Night shows have both come on Saturday (although Fight Night 32: Vitor vs. Hendo was also on Saturday, November 9th and averaged just 722k), in addition to the UFC 168 prelims special (1,554,000 viewers), and the TUF 18 Finale (1.1 million).
As much as the UFC and Fox are trying to brand Wednesday as “UFC night”, it’s not working, and I think there’s a concerted effort to run more events on Saturday this year. The upcoming calendar has the next two Fox Sports 1 Fight Nights on May 10th and the 31st, both on Saturday. They will be holding the TUF Nations Finale on a Wednesday, but there’s already a UFC on Fox Saturday card scheduled for that particular week.
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