The TV ratings are now in for Saturday’s head-to-head showdown between the UFC, Bellator and WSOF and shows that Bellator ended up being the big winners on the night.
Bellator 131 captured fans attention on Spike TV with an average of 1.2 million viewers tuning in to the show, while an impressive 2 million tuned in for the main event which featured two UFC hall-of-famers Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar.
That makes it not only the most watched event on the night, but also is the biggest audience for an MMA event on cable TV all year and a record breaker or Bellator as their highest rated event ever.
The show even managed to go toe-to-toe with the ‘UFC On FOX’ shows over the course of the year in certain key demographics, being the second highest rated MMA show of the year among 18-34 and 18-49 year-old men.
Bellator had put on one of their best line-ups ever for the event, with the much publicized Ortiz Vs Bonnar showdown being backed up by a lightweight title rematch between Will Brooks and Michael Chandler, while the likes of Muhammed ‘King’ Mo and Melvin Manhoef also featured on the main card line-up.
In addition the event featured a marked improvement in their overall production values including an eye-catching new set-up for the fighter entrances that added a sense of theater to the broadcast that was well received by fans.
Of course the UFC 180 main card, which marked their first ever visit to Mexico, was on pay-per-view so a direct comparison between that and the Bellator show isn’t possible, but what we do know is that the UFC 180 prelims on FOX Sports 1 pulled just 624,000 viewers.
That’s below the UFC’s average, though is actually up from the dismal 536,000 viewers that watched the UFC 179 prelims.
It’s not surprising that the UFC 180 undercard failed to make much of an impact as the that the line-up featured no star power, instead being a showcase for the finalists of the recent series of TUF: Latin America – a show that had only been available to watch in the U.S via the UFC Fight Pass subscription service.
The UFC 180 main card had also been hit hard by injuries, and while the event as a whole proved to be relatively entertaining with a string of quick finishes and numerous talking points, it’s expected to have done very poorly in terms of it’s pay-per-view buy rate.
The biggest losers on the night however appears to have been WSOF 15, with the promotion having delivered a strong card by their standards on NBC Sports with three title fights, but failing to make an impression on the ratings front with an average of 179,000 viewers.
That’s the first time they’ve dipped below the 200,000 viewer mark this year and is down 50,000 viewers from WSOF 14 last month.