UFC on FOX 26 Numbers Weren’t Nearly As Bad As Reported

Photo by Bruce Fedyck for USA TODAY Sports

The final numbers are in for last weekend’s UFC on FOX 26: Lawler vs Dos Anjos, and while initial reports indicated low viewership, new factors have put it as the second-most watched TV-aired MMA event in 2017.

The night’s main event was the peak with over three million viewers.

The card was aired live on FOX’s flagship platform, while many fight nights occur on FS1, which could factor into the availability of fans’ ability to watch it, but the event as a whole delivered and kept the momentum going from the prelims to the main card and all the way through a great main event.

Yet while it was one of the highest-watched live UFC cards during a 2017 where numbers were largely down overall, the news wasn’t all roses.

According to Dave Meltzer, the same-day ratings for Saturday night was 2,107,000 viewers, which actually makes it the fourth-lowest viewed FOX card in UFC history. However, it still ended up being the most watched event since January.

Initial reports put the event in a bad light, but the numbers including the entire main event as well as west coast viewership significantly increased the national numbers. It was number one on network TV for men ages 18-34 and 18-49.

In the grander scheme of things, Saturday night was a 34 percent drop compared to the UFC’s last FOX card in December of 2016. That card featured Michelle Waterson vs. Paige Vanzant as well as Urijiah Faber’s retirement fight.

The bar is quite high for FOX shows, so while the numbers may seem high, the card still underperformed in terms of FOX channel events throughout the promotion’s six-year business partnership of the network.