This past weekend saw all three major U.S promotions in active duty and the ratings are now in from each broadcast.
First up, on Friday night Bellator 146 drew 650,000 viewers on Spike TV for an event headed up by Melvin Manhoef who added to his highlight reel with a first round KO finish against Hisaki Kato. The show peaked with 867,000 viewers.
While the ratings are down on their ‘tentpole’ Bellator 145 event earlier in the month which averaged 814,000 viewers, Friday’s ratings were within the ballpark we’d expect to see for a ‘normal’ show from the promotion.
Also airing on Friday night was WSOF 25 which featured their one-night, 8-man lightweight tournament which didn’t prove to be a draw for them with an average of only 148,000 viewers tuning in on CBS Sports to see Brian Foster emerge victorious.
We’d normally expect to see the promotion do closer to 200,000 viewers, but a later than normal start time will have hindered them on this occasion. Still, that’s now the last three WSOF events in a row that have been following a downward trend.
Finally, on Saturday night UFC Fight Night 78 drew 750,000 viewers to FOX Sports 1 with Neil Magny overcoming Kelvin Gastelum by split decision in the main event.
That’s the third lowest Fight Night card on the channel this year and given the lack of interest pre-fight for this fairly uninspiring card which came a week after the huge UFC 193 pay-per-view, that’s not too surprising.
This card doubled as the ‘TUF: Latin America 2 Finale’ and in the weeks leading up to the event it appeared that the UFC were just going to go with a four fight main card and leave the TUF finals for the prelim card, which seemed like a good move since only the most hardcore of fans would have been taking even a passing interest in that regional version of the show.
However, a listen minute decision to push the finals onto the main card, taking it up to six fights in total, didn’t pay off, with the two underwhelming bouts dragging on to a decision, and on a night when all the other fights on this portion of the card also went to the scorecards that proved to be a big turnoff for viewers.
That’s emphasized clearly in the ratings with the peak of 952,000 viewers for the evening’s card coming during the first TUF final, meaning that fans were already beginning to abandon ship before the evening’s more meaningful bouts like Diego Sanchez Vs Ricardo Lamas and Neil Magny Vs Kelvin Gastelum took place.
When it comes to ‘Fight Night’ cards ‘less is more’ is a mantra the UFC would do well to take to heart as more often than not there’s a lack of star power on display to make six bouts an enticing proposition for the average viewer (excluding the upcoming UFC Fight Night 81 event in January – that’s an absolutely stacked card!).