The UFC 207 prelims on Friday night prior to the main card on pay-per-view drew an average of 1,511,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1.
That’s the fourth highest rating of the year for the UFC, and is a strong indicator that the PPV numbers will also be strong as the other three events all went on to do over 1 million PPV buys.
The event peaked with 1,848,000 viewers during the final preliminary bout between Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny, while the pre-fight show did 572,000 viewers and the post-fight show 404,000, landing them both in the top 5 broadcasts of their kind on the channel.
So, all the signs are that the UFC’s gamble to air the event on a Friday night instead of their usual Saturday slot, as well as granting the events headliner Ronda Rousey her wish to avoid doing any media prior to the show, paid off.
It demonstrates just how big of a draw Rousey still was, and just how much the UFC now stands to lose if she does walk away from the sport for good following her devastating loss to Amanda Nunes.
Fighters who can attract that level of global attention are exceptionally rare in this sport and the UFC’s new owners WME-IMG will have their work cut out for them in 2017 and beyond as they look to find more ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ stars like Rousey and Conor McGregor that can help them recoup the whopping $4.2 billion they spent buying the company last year.