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UFC on FOX 3 ratings down 50% from previous efforts

Whether it was due to Cinco de Mayo, a card lacking a mainstream star, a major boxing match-up on the same night, or any other number of reasons, one thing is clear – UFC on FOX 3 flopped. Though arguably the most entertaining of the three FOX features, this past Saturday night’s primetime lineup only averaged 2.4 million viewers in comparison to the 5+ million brought in by the company’s previous stabs at cracking into the mainstream. Also worth pointing out, the show involved four bouts on FOX while the earlier events only had four TOTAL tilts between them with a network rub.

Additionally concerning, the preliminary portion drew less than 100,000 fans to Fuel TV even though it boasted a pair of Ultimate Fighter winners in action.

Both figures have been reported by multiple outlets with MMAJunkie being first to confirm the news.

The UFC will return to FOX in August with a card headlined by Brian Stann-Hector Lombard though there are a slew of shows scheduled in the coming months with ties to the broadcaster including next week when Dustin Poirier faces Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel 3.


  • That’s some bullshit….I mean, I get it, and it was probably due to all the reasons mentioned above(no main stream star, cinco and the mayweather vs. cotto fight) but that’s weak, this card was phenomenal both on paper and in reality. Fights like Kos vs. Hendricks are exactly what everyone demands they see….and yet people miss it when it comes to fruition. How sad.

  • Angry Mike says:

    The main card was entertaining, but the some of the prelims were a little slow. I doubt that would affect the viewers for the main card, though.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    My hunch is that advertising opportunity also played a role in the decreased ratings.

    For the first FOX event, they advertised the hell out of it and gave us a HW title fight. So naturally it did (relatively) big numbers.

    For the 2nd FOX event, it took place at the end of January which allowed FOX to drop in advertisements during the NFL playoffs. Those NFL games obviously garner insane viewership numbers.

    But for this 3rd event, it just sorta floated in off the radar. I don’t know if FOX actually ran fewer ads/promos but it sure felt that way. Even if they did run as much ad time, the opportunity/exposure was definitely lower in April/May compared to the previous events. Combine that with the factors Brendan mentioned in the article, and the drop in ratings was almost inevitable. Disappointing sure, but not that surprising.

  • Lord Faust says:

    I blame the stupid robots on the intro. I know I feel mildly insulted every time I see them.

  • Bad Monkey says:

    I’ve got to agree with superdave, it sucks that the viewership was that low when it was a great card from beginning to end. All kinds of title implications in the fights and just good quality scraps. Hopefully FOX will start figuring out how to properly advertise these events and get the viewers these fights deserve.

    And oh yeah, WAR Belcher!!

  • Lord Faust says:

    The prelims didn’t break 100k viewers; 86,000 was what I read. Although I — and many others — were streaming the prelims since I don’t get FuelTV.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I also wonder if it’s because it wasn’t a PPV. If you watch Dana’s twitter before the cards, its surprising how many people bitch at him about the free cards and claim they won’t watch it because it’s obviously not PPV material.

  • I dont think this was arguably the best card…it was undoubtedly the most exciting card on fox….the first one lasted all of 87 seconds(i might be exaggerating but not much) and the second card was absolute shit from a performance standpoint(Maia gassed, chael vs. bisping was a hug fest thanks to chael sucking wind and bisping not being able to get away, and rashad not trying to finish an obviously overwhelmed Phil Davis) if not for the awesome prelims that card would;ve been hardly worth watching.

  • Rece Rock says:

    We are diehards that will watch anything mma related and at the same time can look at the UFC onFox3 card and say man I’m not going to miss this….

    the casual mma fan or casual sports fan in general whom is just flipping through the channels on a saturday night needs to be enticed and needs a title on the line or needs the spectacle of HW clash or some sort of selling point you need the glitz and glamour, ppl who don’t watch boxing watch mayweather or pac man fights because it’s as if they are taking part in this huge experiance EVERYONE watching it and the Fighters are larger then life regardless of size… I look at the UFC on FOX 3 main event as a non MMA fan and I say this Diaz guy looks anorexic, whose ass is he kicking? So with out a build up or at least getting these guys some air time on FOX before the fights how can you expect any casuals to invest in a 2 hour show with no specticles or championships?!?

    I love alot of sports but if I was NOT an mma fan and just a casual fan you would need some name recognition, or a championship or somethign that makes me say I don’t want to miss this!

    We as die hard fans know what the product is and we know the fighters and we invest our time into the careers and the up coming cards and everything else that goes along with it… BUT outsiders that FOX & the UFC want to hook into the sport or atleast get some viewership from need more enlightenment about the sport and the fighters or at the very least a must see attraction… Kos, Hendricks, Miller & Diaz are not exactly eye candy or scream I’m imposing and I’m kicking some bodies ass on saturday night! If I was a casual and saw Nates ribs sticking out it in a poster It would make me think well I guess I’d be angry and want to fight ppl to if my boss was starving me.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    The bottom line is the boxing that night was better to watch. 2 title fights from the top 4 guys it wasnt bad. The ufc was good to I think they need to put the very best vs the very best to get veiwers.some of the fights to get into tuf house are better than the fights they put together.

  • Lord Faust says:

    If the shitty New Jersey crowd was any indication, the UFC was hard pressed to make anyone happy that night. As Rece said, we’re hardcores; we’ll watch regardless. Sadly, the UFC still needs to make some more inroads with the casual fan — the people who think UFC and MMA and synonyms….

  • MCM says:

    Exactly Rece.
    Let’s also not forget that the UFC has had two chances already to lure in the casuals. They all showed up to the HW fight, but it was over almost before it began. So they tuned into the second fight card (which, unlike superdave, I enjoyed) but from a casual fan perspective was loaded with wrestlers that looked to be stalling on the ground half the time. So that’s two let downs, and now there’s a third fight on Cinco de Myo (sp) and it’s with a bunch of guys they’ve either never heard of or are supposed to hate, Kos and Nick Diaz. (Just because you and I know the difference between Nick and Nate Diaz, doesn’t mean casuals do.)
    If they put some HW’s or LHW’s on the 4th card, and put a title on the 4th card, and actually promote the damn thing, and I’m sure they’ll see the ratings improve.
    I also think that this being such a good card may entice those that did stay home to watch to encourage others to watch the next one. Kind of a “you don’t know what you missed last time” thing.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Name power was definitely lacking on this card. Even I wasn’t overly familiar with everybody; I mean, I knew who they were but it was more recognition of the name on my screen not “oh man, can’t wait for Gaudinot to fight”.

    I’m a but surprised that the Fox propaganda machine hasn’t been churning away, trying to maximise their investment. Then again, I think they’re still figuring out just what the Hell they’re dealing with.

    Also, gotta give props to the 5oz readership. I like talking about marketing when it doesn’t involve Power Point slides and some dipshit using the words “synergy” and “leverage” until I want to puke with rage.

  • MCM….maybe Im a little harsh on that second fox card, but even from a grappling affiicianado standpoint(which I do feel I hold as a fan, not a grappler) it was hard to watch.
    The point is had they promoted this fight with highlights of Nate and Miller, Kos and hendricks, Palhares and Belcher….they could’ve sold this card. The boxing may have been “better” from a promo standpoint(championships, top fighters etc.) but they UFC had a much more promise of excitement… may have been poorly timed or underpromoted. Either way, with the six men I just named there were more than a few KO’s submissions and highlight worthy moments to intrigue anyone regardless of how casual a fan they may be.

  • Lord Faust says:

    I agree with Dave to a degree. I watched the event and found myself thinking “this is not winning the UFC any fans” during the slow fights.

  • MCM says:

    “The point is had they promoted this fight with highlights of Nate and Miller, Kos and hendricks, Palhares and Belcher….they could’ve sold this card…… there were more than a few KO’s submissions and highlight worthy moments to intrigue anyone regardless of how casual a fan they may be.”

    Exactly right my friend.
    Hype sells fights. Period.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    Boxing is doing champ vs champ not contender vs champ.ufc needs to let their fighters get tested. Jon jones is selling fights because hes beating top notch opponents. Anderson silva is fighting puppets half the time. Edgar has fought bj penn and maynard for the last 2 point is let the toughest fight the toghest. Hendricks is looking good wheres condit? Why does he get to decide when he and who he fights? Diaz vs henderson, condit vs hendricks, pettis vs edgar, and so many good fights make so much sense wtf.

  • I disagree that Silva is fighting Puppets…..he fights who they put in front of him….and I wouldnt call Forrest, Maia, Okami, Belfort, Franklin, Hendo, Nate the great, Sonnen or Leben puppets. Jon Jones is selling fights because the UFC hype machine is behind him. When Anderson started getting that same hype machine he delivered 3 straight crap performances which people dont seem willing to forgive him for(which is garbage in my mind) ergo they’ve stopped promoting him as they should……which should be for what he is, a destroyer who beats everyone in his path, or at least a true champion who can win at any moment(The Sonnen fight).
    I like your match making though Gunner, Benson vs. Nate and let Frankie earn his shot back strip GSP and make Carlos fight Hendricks, let GSP fight Diaz for his shot at the title back around his waist….who knows maybe he’ll finish someone.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Boxing is doing champ -vs- champ because there are like 100 belts and as many weight classes. Aside from the Mayweather and Pacquiao fights, boxing might be pulling down good money but it’s definitely not gaining momentum. (Plus Floyd is off to the slammer for a few months.)

    As for Silva, he makes anyone who steps in front of him look stupid. He made Okami and Forrest look like n00bs, before smashing them, one punch KO’ed Nate on the ground, etc. When Dan fought Silva and looked like he won the first round — as uneventful as it was — that was a Big Deal(tm). It still is, really, because other than Sonnen’s 4.5 round mauling, no one else has been anything but a victim against Silva.

    I like those fight ideas. They’ll never happen, though. I just want to see the last quarter of this year and most — if not all — of 2013 to feature zero rematches. The talent pools are too deep to do this now.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Why strip GSP just because he got hurt though? If anything at least make the holder of the Interim belt actually defend it, since that’s the point of it.

  • Why strip Frank Mir of his title back in the day? Because if a champ cant defend their title, they are no good to the sport and at the end of the day the sport matters more than the individual. Once again its not fair, but I dont believe in interim belts….if a champ is out over a year, then strip them. If they’re as good as they’re supposed to be(and GSP is) then they’ll get it back.

  • stone says:

    All champs should defend 5 times in 2 years… Hell yeah fucking right, the ufc is hyping up Jones. He’s putting in work! Condit should rematch Rory or fight Johnny, man…str8 up!

  • JabCrossHook says:

    It definitely had low ratings because of the holiday, boxing, and most importantly there was no real star power. I think the most mainstream fighter was Kos in that card, and maybe Nate after that. That had a lot to do with it because most casual fans have an interest in seeing an event when they hear a name they are familiar with. Also they really need to put up a title fight on a full card (JDS and Cain doesn’t count as it was only one fight) to really get the public’s interest.

  • darth_irritable says:

    There’s a relatively simple solution to this: put a “Name” fight as main event, and build the undercard around showcases for the sport. It gives enough of a taste of PPV calibre stars, without depleting the roster, and lets them highlight budding talent.

    Even better – use name fighters who can entertain, but aren’t relevant to the top end of a division anymore. This would be a good place for Ortiz-Griffin 3 – name value, but not detrimental to a PPV to have it on free to air.


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