UFC 238 took place this past weekend (Sat. June 8, 2019) from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Prior to the pay-per-view (PPV) portion, several bouts took place on the preliminary card, which aired on ESPN. MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer reports that the broadcast did the Las Vegas-based promotion’s best numbers in three months with 964,000 viewers. The show peaked at 1.2 million viewers during the featured preliminary bout, featuring strawweights Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff.
The preliminary card was also the highest-rated sports show in the 18-34 male demographic. It beat out MLB baseball on FOX, the Belmont Stakes on NBC, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, all three of those broadcasts drew bigger overall ratings. MLB pulled in 2,560,000 viewers, the Belmont did 4,909,000, and the World Cup hauled in 1,209,000.
Coming in at third overall Saturday night in the 18-49 demographic, as well as third in the male 18-49, and tied for first in the male 12-34 demographic was the UFC 238 prelims. 75 percent of the program’s viewers were male. UFC 238 was also the number one searched item on Google that day, with more than one million searches. The show saw a 47 percent increase in viewers for last June’s PPV prelims, which was the UFC 225 PPV headlined by Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero.
As for the strongest major markets, the UFC pulled in a 0.8 rating in Dallas and an 0.7 in Philadelphia. The weakest major markets were Houston with an 0.2 and Chicago with an 0.3. The prelims also beat out Top Rank boxing, which aired on ESPN shortly after. The show was headlined by a WBO featherweight title bout between Oscar Valdez and Jason Sanchez, which did 799,000 viewers.
The last time the UFC did better numbers was for the UFC 235 PPV prelims in March. Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight title fight headlined the show. The preliminary card for that event did 1.48 million viewers.