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Strikeforce Evolution draws more viewers than WEC 45

WEC-45This past Saturday evening, hundreds of thousands of mixed martial arts fans were forced to make a choice between two highly anticipated cards that aired at the exact same time. It was “Strikeforce: Evolution” going head to head with WEC 45, as the Showtime network and Versus network faced off in a promotional stand-off.

The results are in, and apparently it was the “Strikeforce: Evolution” card that ended up with a slight advantage in the ratings department despite boasting a fraction of the possible number of viewers as it’s competing broadcast network.

According to separate reports at, “Strikeforce: Evolution” ended up with 341,000 viewers, while WEC 45 came in second by the narrowest of margins, managing to grab 330,000 viewers.

In total, Showtime is available to 12,000,000 paying subscribers, while the Versus network is at the fingertips of 75,000,000.

Both cards delivered in the excitement department as Strikeforce featured memorable bouts of Cung Le vs. Scott Smith and Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson, while WEC had several bouts not to be forgotten, including Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff and Scott Jorgensen vs. Takeya Mizugaki.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    They drew more viewers because they put on a better show.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    come on you had the return of Le. King Mo Fighting, Melendez vs Thomson
    wich one would you choose??

  • Rece Rock says:

    Nah the fights on WEC were better… I only enjoyed the SF Melendez fight everything else was kinda miss matched and easy wins in some cases… just my opinion… I watched both and felt better about the WEC show.

  • thunder okami says:

    I think the real reason might be the loss of Versus to Direct TV owners

    Both cards were equally as good

  • Lord Faust says:

    I don’t think this is a good comparisson, as both are specialty channels and are not available to everyone. IMO this is not the same as comparing cable TV #s, or even PPV buys.

    Also, Strikeforce had a bit more pull with the names on their card. WEC is great, but also somewhat under-promoted.

  • mohawk009 says:

    Strikeforce got the ratings because they had more well known fighters. The casual fans don’t know anything about the WEC or their fighters. Personally i watched the WEC card and downloaded the strikeforce one because showtime will NOT show any mma or boxing in canada!! Ridiculous why they would lose out on viewers.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    mohawk009: Strikeforce got the ratings because they had more well known fighters.

  • Vogairian says:

    The drawing power of King Mo, Cung Le, and a title fight between two big time lw’s beat out the drawing power of Donald Cerrone? This isn’t really suprising.

    I watched the Showtime card, but would have watched WEC if I had the option… stupid DirecTV.

  • I expected Strikeforce beat wec.

    If Strikeforce took on UFC, hmmm

    Put it this way, I would rather watch Fedor vs. anyone on Strikeforce against Carwin vs. Mir.

  • king mah mah says:

    I agree that Strikeforce had the better card. I have both channels and I chose to watch Strikeforce.

  • jj says:

    mohawk009: Strikeforce got the ratings because they had more well known fighters. The casual fans don’t know anything about the WEC or their fighters. Personally i watched the WEC card and downloaded the strikeforce one because showtime will NOT show any mma or boxing in canada!! Ridiculous why they would lose out on viewers.

    actually i watched this fight for free in canada on the superchannel free preview, dont know if the free deal is available outside of shaw cable systems though. superchannel will have all strikeforce events destined for showtime starting with the last event.

  • onebaldegg says:

    strikeforce nailed it for sure. the WEC card was decent. but i watched both and i found myself more pumped and animated during the strikeforce card. the title fight was money and scott smith pulling it out again. that was an amazing night. meanwhile cowboy knees some poor dude in the nuts 3 times before he decides to beat the crap out of him.

  • cocoonofhorror says:


  • Niv says:

    Actually I’m not sure how this works as it appears everybody has a different way to view things.

    1st of all I watched SF and that is viewed in Canada on the Super Channel pay per view channel which is a specialty channel that has to be subscribed to. The WEC card was available for free on Sportscentre 2 which isn’t a specialty channel and is part of my regular viewing bundle through Shaw Direct.

    I recorded the WEC event, both were good but I have to say I really like what SF is doing these days. I think the UFC needs to merge the WEC and maybe one day look to actual co-promotions between SF and the UFC and give the world what it really wants.

  • aimres says:

    Considering Strikeforce was on a paid subscription channel “Showtime” and Versus is not available to some Direct TV users.

    The numbers seem ok.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Strikeforce has some of the most talented guys in heavy weight classes (WW,MW,HW,LHW) and WEC is based more so around light weight classes. The heavier dudes in all fight sports usually draw a bigger following. So even if WEC has some of the best (or the best) fighters in the world they may find it hard to beat SF in ratings because bigger dudes usually = bigger crowds (although not always).

  • Rece Rock says:

    After this last show I honestly will consider watching other shows over SF in part because Stephen Quadros has got to be one of the worst Interviewers/ Sports casters in the world. Nothing personal against the guy but he is just verbal torture. Bottom line is they keep wanting there production to improve- well start with getting an earpiece for Quadros and tell him to only say whatever the producer feeds him cause he’s a trainwreck. Sorry Stephen. I just want to bang my head off something when this guy opens his mouth.

  • Scott H. says:

    We can argue the merits of each show endlessly…

    What I’m wondering is, what do Verus and Showtime think…

    How is this compared to the number Showtime pulled in for EliteXC? How does it compare to thier boxing numbers? It’s much lower then the ratings for thier Televison shows like Weed’s, Dexter, and Californication although that’s not a fair comparison. But do the folks at Showtime think they are getting good value for thier money?

    On Versus, I think that’s a higher rating then the average Hockey game, but I can’t see them being overjoyed… It’s a lot less then many of the Sunday night cards WEC has put together with bigger names. This looked like a thrown together card with little promotion appeal outside of the harder core fan, to counter Strikeforce. Versus doing a favour for Zuffa I guess.

  • Scott H. says:

    Just was poking around on the internet to answer my own question.

    EliteXC’s debut on Showtime in Feb. 2007 (against a replay of UFC’s Ultimate Knockouts 2 on Spike), had 365,000 viewers.

    I might be wrong, but I can’t image Showtime is impressed that after 2+ years of MMA, they haven’t improved their ratings. I wish Strikeforce well in 2010 (I do, really), cause if the numbers don’t go up, I don’t think we’ll see a 2011 on Showtime or CBS.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think that I would have happily watched both but damm direct tv got rid of verses, but lets see how the numbers look after the dvr ratings come in.

  • neijia says:

    I don’t think we have to be too worried about the tv ratings vs other more popular sports. The programming folks likely aren’t saying “mma has to do as well as nhl”. Sure, they both go for a young male demographic advertisers want (at least for the free shows), but mma is probably competing against less popular offerings (like a fishing or hunting show?) on VS. so no worries. It’ll keep improving in 2010.

  • king mah mah says:

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone. May 2010 be blessed with some great MMA!

  • mu_shin says:

    Just a fact in passing: was not able to watch WEC event live, and I’m not a Showtime subscriber, but Versus runs WEC events multiple times, so I caught the WEC show on rebroadcast the other night. Watched the Smith/Le fight on line, so can’t really judge the whole event head to head, but a combined live rating of less than 800,000 is not overly impressive for either promotion.

    Wouldn’t have been outraged if Cerrone was DQ’d for multiple groin shots. Great head kick by Njoukuani, and fantastic submission by Brad Pickett…

    Scott Smith had a great finish against Cung Le, but survived a tremendous beating to do so. A little less ring rust and better conditioning, I think Le takes a rematch. Le’s kicks are without parallel in the sport, regardless of weight division.


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