The UFC launched their new flagship ‘UFC Tonight’ show on Fuel TV on Tuesday night and drew an average of 39,000 viewers.

The show was fronted by ex-WEC announcer Todd Harris alongside UFC fighter Kenny Florian with Chael Sonnen and Dana White appearing as guests.

Readers familiar with the kind of ratings that the UFC has done on channels like Spike TV in the past may be shocked by the low number, but in actual fact this is pretty decent by Fuel TV standards.

For example, in the last week of 2011 before the UFC deal with FOX began Fuel TV average just 12,000 viewers and during that 12 month stretch it was the lowest rated station on cable.

As we’ve noted since the UFC’s deal with FOX was first announced, Fuel TV is seen as very much a long-term project. Prior to the UFC’s involvement the station was practically unknown and not available on many network providers packages, but in 2012 with 25% of their programming now devoted to the UFC there will be increased demand for the product which will lead to a wider reach and larger audiences.

It’s not going to happen overnight, but the word should start to spread fairly quickly in the early part of the year, particularly since the promotion are gearing up for two special ‘UFC On Fuel TV’ live events in February and April, while other shows will feature on the much larger FOX and FX platforms too.