The first-ever UFC event on their new ESPN platform was a grand slam for The Worldwide Leader In Sports.

ESPN+ signed up over a half a million new users for their streaming service on Saturday. That is by far the most successful day in the streaming platform young history. They also signed up 43,000 new subscribers on Friday, most of which has been attributed to the champion vs. champion main event for UFC Brooklyn.

The prelims which aired on ESPN and were headlined by Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez averaged a 1.4 rating in the major markets. For comparison purposes, that number would be ahead of what most FOX cards averaged in recent years. It would also be the highest rated prelims for a non-PPV show dating back at least five years.

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Official ratings will not be made available until Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2019).

According to ESPN, 1.8 million unique visitors searched MMA related content across all related ESPN platforms.

”All day, and across all platforms, we collectively demonstrated the promise of what we can do to fulfill our mission of serving a wider array of sports fans,” said ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro.

Star Power

The UFC did a good job at peppering fan friendly fighters such as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Paige VanZant throughout the card. Although Cerrone and “PVZ” may not pack the name recognition as Conor McGregor, there were more than 1.6 million Google searches for the event. Which would have been the third-most of any event in 2018, trailing only UFC 229 and 232.

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”Our first UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ was a thrilling evening of action and a great success. With a record-setting night that continued the momentum for ESPN+, delivered strong ratings on ESPN and marks a great start to our new agreement with the UFC,” said Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-To-Consumer and International for The Walt Disney Company. “It was a milestone evening. With the success driven by outstanding joint efforts from the teams at DTCI and ESPN.”

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Mike Straus @AKAstraus21 is a credentialed MMA journalist and a member of the MMAJA. He has been a fan of the sport since its inception and has been covering the sport professionally for three years. In the past, he has produced content for Fansided's Cagepages,, and He currently contributes for, he is a staff writer for, and He most recently began writing for