The final tv ratings figures are now in for Saturday night’s ‘UFC On FOX 3’ event, and unfortunately they haven’t increased much from the surprisingly low figure we brought you at the weekend.

The final audience for the live primetime show now stands at an average of 2.4 million viewers, up just 150,000 viewers from the initial estimate, garnering a 1.5 household rating.

That’s a sharp decline from the 4.7 million who tuned in to ‘UFC On FOX 2’ back in January, and even further removed from the 5.7 million average recorded for their debut on FOX in November of 2011.

One of the few positives for the UFC is that they drew a 1.6 rating in the 18-34 male demographic which is coveted by advertisers, and overall that’s up 60% compared to FOX’s usual audience in that timeslot in 2012. Unfortunately the downside is that it’s also down 50% from ‘UFC On FOX 2’.

While a number of factors such as the May holiday weekend, other sporting events such as the boxing PPV between Mayweather and Cotto and NBA play-offs, plus a box-office record breaking weekend thanks for ‘The Avengers’ could be cited as reasons for the numbers dropping so heavily, the main reason lies closer to home.

The fact is that the UFC gambled with the fight card for this show – moving away from the star-studded line-ups of the previous two outings on FOX, and instead opted for what looked like entertaining bouts on paper, including a headliner featuring Nate Diaz Vs Jim Miller – two fighter’s who up until that point had only ever headlined lower profile ‘Fight Night’ cards.

The formula worked as intended with those watching enjoying an engaging night of fights with exciting finishes, but the lack of well known fighters hit the viewing figures hard.

It also has to be noted that this show received far less of a promotional push than the previous two which also didn’t help.

Looking forward, the UFC already appear to have the line-up locked in for ‘UFC On FOX 4’ in August, and it looks like they have adopted a similar strategy with Brian Stann Vs Hector Lombard set to take on headline duties despite neither being a big draw and Lombard in particular being essentially unknown to all but the hardcore fan base.

Lyoto Machida Vs Ryan Bader is a strong co-main event though, but overall you wonder that with the benefit of hindsight UFC officials might have put together a different card if they had been aware just how low Saturday night’s ratings were going to go.

As an additional note, the ‘UFC On FOX 3 Prelims’ special on Fuel TV also delivered poor ratings with just 86,000 people watching the undercard fights, the lowest for a preliminary show on the channel to date, with ‘UFC On FOX 2’ having pulled in 113,000.