UFC Fight Night 81 Poster

This past Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night 81 event in Boston proved to be a big success with an average of 2,288,000 viewers tuning in to watch the action live on FOX Sports 1.

That’s the second highest ever audience for the UFC on FS1, falling only behind last January’s UFC Fight Night 59: McGregor Vs Siver show which amassed 2,751,000 viewers.

Why have both of these events been so popular? The fact that they each were heavily promoted on a FOX aired NFL game watched by tens of millions of viewers that day had a huge impact, even more so for McGregor’s event last year since the game led directly into the fights, while on this occasion the game had occured earlier in the day.

Of course the fighters involved also had an impact on the overall viewership too. Last year there was a big demand to see McGregor who was already becoming a big draw at that stage, while UFC Fight Night 81 offered up a major title fight between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz along with one of the most stacked all-round cards we’ve seen for a non PPV or ‘big’ FOX show in quite some time.

The only downside to all this is that the fact the card stretched out to the wee hours of Monday morning meant that the show actually peaked a few fights before the thrilling main event action, with the heavyweight clash between Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione ending up with the peak viewership of 2,464,000.

On the plus side though, even the FOX Sports 1 prelims drew big numbers, with 1,767,000 viewers tuning in to a see a good selection of fights topped by Patrick Cote Vs Ben Saunders.

That’s better than most UFC main cards draw on FOX Sports 1, and even the post-fight show received a big bump, with 1,454,000 viewers tuning in to the first 20 minutes of that.