Bellator 108 drew an average of 793,000 viewers on Spike TV this past Friday night.
That’s up 110,000 viewers from the previous week’s show and makes it the second most watched episode of the season.
Bellator 108 was headlined by Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson who made a successful debut against another former UFC fighter Joey Beltran, and there’s no doubt that it’s his presence that delivered this ratings boost.
In the grand scheme of things perhaps Bellator / Spike TV would have been hoping for more from undoubtedly the highest profile fighter ever to compete in the promotion though.
‘Rampage’ won’t have come cheap, and they’d even given him his own reality TV show on the channel in the lead-up to his debut, (although that was purely focused on his doomed PPV headliner with Tito Ortiz which ended up being canceled due to injury) so it’s been an expensive gamble bringing him on-board so far.
The reality is that we’re a long way from ‘Rampage’s’ heyday in the UFC back in 2007 when he drew 4.7 million viewers opposite Dan Henderson on Spike TV for UFC 75.
He came into the Bellator promotion as a 35 year-old veteran after a series of lackluster performances in the UFC that had resulted in three consecutive losses, looking a shell of the ultra-dangerous striker he had once been.
The good news for Bellator is that at least we saw a brief flash of the kind of violence that ‘Rampage’ is capable of on Friday night as he TKO’d Beltran late in the first round.
It wasn’t a great performance apart from that, but the decisive finish and a much needed win under his belt might just help fans warm up to him once again.
The big question now is who will they pair him up with next? To get the best out of him they need a high profile opponent, but with Tito Ortiz out indefinitely with a fractured neck it’s hard to see who else they can pair him up with on the current roster who’ll generate enough interest to really grab people’s attention and potentially warrant another attempt to build a pay-per-view card around him.
Additional numbers that while 793,000 viewers tuned in on average to the show, it actually peaked with 1.2 million viewers during the main event between ‘Rampage’ and Beltran.
That would seem to indicate that perhaps people didn’t tune in early to catch the other fights, but that ‘Rampage’ does still have enough star power to make people tune in to see him compete, and his victory on the night should ensure that continues to be the case.
As mentioned earlier, finding a meaningful opponent for his next fight is still going to be important for Bellator going forward.
Bellator Season 9 Ratings:
Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers
Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers
Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers
Bellator 101 – 649,000 viewers
Bellator 102 – 675,000 viewers
Bellator 103 – 539,000 viewers
Bellator 104 – 615,000 viewers
Bellator 105 – 520,000 viewers
Bellator 106 – 1.1M viewers
Bellator 107 – 683,000 viewers