UFC Fight Night 46 aired live on the 3e channel in Ireland on Saturday and proved to be a big success with an average of 257,500 viewers tuning into the event, peaking at 340,200 viewers during the main event which saw Irish star Conor McGregor defeat Diego Brandao by TKO.
While the audience may seem small by U.S standards, this was the most watched sporting episode ever on 3e, Ireland’s fourth biggest channel and accounted for 21% of the total viewership in the country that night.
“This was a night that will go down in history within the UFC for the record sell out and viewership figures,” the UFC’s head of the EMEA division Gary Cook said today. “The collaboration between UFC and TV3, not just on the night, but in the weeks and days leading to the event has shown how an integrated partnership can benefit both organizations.”
Despite only having had two previous fights in the UFC prior to Saturday’s event in Dublin, McGregor had already become a household name in his native Ireland, making several interviews on the popular, ‘The Late, Late Show’ there as well as starring in a commercial for popular Irish crisp maker, ‘King Crisps’.
It’s clear he’s also made an impact further afield too as during his post-fight media sit-down UFC president Dana White said that the event was the most watched live event on their internet subscription service ‘UFC Fight pass’ to date.
Despite the show now airing on TV in the U.S the UFC had embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign prior to UFC Fight Night 46 centered around the 26 year-old fighter who appears to be emerging as the sport’s biggest personality since Chael Sonnen.
Saturday’s performance against former TUF champion Brandao went some way to proving that McGregor can back up his words with action, but despite claiming both pre and post-fight that he wanted to compete for the featherweight title by the end of the year, the UFC have indicated that they don’t intend to fast track him to the top of the 145lb heap.
Currently ranked at No.12 in the division, McGregor is likely to get a top 10 opponent next according to White, and the No.6 ranked Dustin Poirier is one of the fighters who’s name has been mentioned as a possibility.