UFC 197 Poster

The TV ratings are in for Saturday night’s UFC 197 prelims and show that 835,000 viewers tuned in to watch the show on FOX Sports 1 prior to the evening’s pay-per-view main card.

That’s a disappointing number for the lead-in to a big PPV, and is the lowest of the three numbered UFC events so far this year as well as falling significantly below the 1.1 million average that they delivered across 2015 on FS1.

A fight between Sergio Pettis and Chris Kelades anchored the UFC 197 prelims, which also featured former TUF winner / woman’s bantamweight champion Carla Esparza.

At times there appears to be a correlation between the prelims audience and PPV buys, in which case, these numbers wouldn’t bode particularly well for UFC 197, which saw Jon Jones make his return to the Octagon for the first time in 15 months.

However, the fact that Jones was facing a late-notice replacement in Ovince St. Preux for the interim title rather than a heavily hyped rematch with Daniel Cormier for the ‘real’ belt would have hurt the level of interest in the show.

It also didn’t help that all the drama surrounding Conor Mcgregor’s power struggle with the UFC sucked up all the headlines during fight week, meaning that there was very little buzz surrounding UFC 197 heading into Saturday night’s show.

Other UFC 197 Ratings:

UFC 197 Weigh-Ins: 184,000 viewers
UFC 197 Pre-Fight Show: 279,000 viewers
UFC 197 Post-Fight Show: 218,000 viewers

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.