A week after setting Fuel TV ratings records with UFC on Fuel TV 1 in Omaha on February 15th, FX set ratings records for their broadcast of the UFC 144 preliminary card. Featuring several local fighters such as Takanori Gomi and Kid Yamamoto, FX drew 1.5 million viewers for their special preceding the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 144.
While UFC 144 was just the third broadcasting of preliminary card fights on FX under the new contract with Fox and its networks, the preliminary ratings have significantly risen with every program. UFC 142, which took place on January 14th, featured preliminary card fights on FX for the first time. The event on FX drew 880,000 viewers.
UFC 143 took place three weeks later from Las Vegas. The Super Bowl weekend card, which took place following events on FX and Fox the two weeks prior, featured fighters such as Matt Brown and Dustin Poirier. Ratings for UFC 143 prelims on FX averaged 1.3 million viewers.
FX’s record number of 1.5 million viewers compares with the average number of viewers that Spike TV provided with over two years of preliminary card coverage from UFC 103 (September 2009) to UFC 141 (December 2011). Spike TV’s record ratings reached as high as 2 million viewers with UFC 126 in February 2011, with viewership never falling below the 1 million viewer barrier.
UFC 144 preliminary card coverage will be the final preliminary card event on FX until UFC 145 in Atlanta, which does not take place until April 21st.