For UFC 125, Dana White experimented with putting the live prelims show, which traditionally airs on cable station Spike TV, on network channel Ion Television instead.
Though the show was only announced on the week of the fight and many fans were unsure whether they had access to the little known Ion TV, the hour long show still managed to deliver an average of 829,000 viewers on Saturday night.
That’s still some way short of previous broadcasts of this nature on Spike TV however, with UFC 123 in November for example drawing an average of 1.5 million viewers. The previous low on Spike had come for UFC 118 in August which drew 1.1 million.
With Spike only committed to showing certain prelim show live each year however, the UFC may be tempted to continue to use Ion to air prelims from selected events in the future and hope to build on their viewership over time.
Saturday’s broadcast aired three live entertaining preliminary fights, Phil Baroni Vs Brad Tavares, Josh Grispi Vs Dustin Poirier and Jeremy Stephens Vs Marcus Davis.