Last weekend’s (Fri., June 1, 2018) UFC Fight Night 131 from the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, was a box office flop if there ever was one.
Featuring a pivotal bantamweight main event between Marlon Moraes and Jimmie Rivera and little else, one of the UFC’s rare Friday night shows paid for its weak lineup with dismal ratings that were so low they are legitimately record-setting.
According to MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer, the event averaged a paltry 512,000 viewers, which, if confirmed, would make it the second-lowest viewed UFC card of all-time behind only last December’s The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 26 Finale featuring the inaugural women’s flyweight title fight between Nicco Montano and Roxanne Modafferi.
What made matters worse is the fact that UFC Utica had little competition in the way of mainstream sports, but its Friday night slot, where UFC competitor Bellator has drawn continuously struggling ratings as well, should be the main culprit to blame.
By comparison, the record low for a Saturday night-aired UFC show came in May 2014 where Stipe Miocic battered Fabio Maldonado in Brazil. The event averaged 609,000 viewers.
The strange and concerning circumstances continued when it was also revealed that the show peaked at 593,000 viewers for the first main card bout between Sam Alvey and Gian Villante, because while it’s not unusual for a card that lasts until 1 a.m EST to peak before the main event, it usually doesn’t happen during a fight featuring lesser-known personalities like Alvey and Villante.
The preliminary card for UFC Utica averaged 322,000 viewers, the lowest-ever numbers for a primetime UFC prelim card aired on FOX Sports 1.