UFC’s Major ESPN Debut Does Best Numbers Since 2016

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The UFC made its debut event on ESPN’s main channel last night (Sun. February 17, 2019).

UFC Phoenix was headlined by a heavyweight match-up between Francis Ngannou and Cain Velasquez. In the end, it was “The Predator” who emerged victorious with a first-round knockout win. It looks like the event did rather successfully in the ratings department. ESPN PR shared some interesting factoids on Twitter.

ESPN on ESPN 1 was the highest-rated card on cable since January of 2016. Ratings were also up 83 percent compared to the Fight Night main card t the comparable time in 2018. Also, ESPN now holds the three highest-rated UFC telecasts on cable since January of 2017. ESPN credits Nielsen for the information.

The UFC now airing events on ESPN is certainly a huge step forward for the promotion and the sport.

It will be interesting to see how well cards continue to perform on ESPN’s platform moving forward.