This past weekend, UFC 171, went down in Dallas, Texas with Johny Hendricks becoming the new UFC Welterweight champion. The card was stacked from top to bottom, and the fights absolutely delivered. MMA Payout has reported that the average viewership for the UFC 171 Fox Sports 2 prelims was 305,000 viewers.
Those numbers are obviously not as good as the UFC 170 prelims which garnered 936,000. One of the main reasons the UFC 171 numbers are so low was because the prelims were on Fox Sports 2 instead of Fox Sports 1 because of college basketball. With the NCAA tournament around the corner, a huge demographic that the UFC depends upon was watching college basketball instead.
Check out the last six pay per view prelims’ viewership on Fox Sports 1 (Courtesy of MMA Payout):
UFC 164 809,000
UFC 165 722,000
UFC 166 628,000
UFC 167 998,000
UFC 168 1,554,000
UFC 169 933,000
UFC 170 936,000
As you can see, the move to Fox Sports 2 definitely hurt UFC 171’s viewership. Besides for college basketball, another reason for the low viewership is due to FS2 being in much less households then Fox Sports 1.
With the huge drop in viewership, the UFC may want to avoid Fox Sports 2 for the time being. As of now UFC 172 prelims are set for Fox Sports 1, so we will see if the numbers rise once again.