**Note: Click here for the most recent ratings figures and information.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White optimistically declared a few months ago that the first ever foray for his promotion on network television on Nov. 12, 2011, would blow the previous ratings record for a mixed martial arts (MMA) event "out of the water."
He was wrong.
The ratings are in for UFC on Fox 1, which was an hour-long historic event for the promotion, featuring a heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos that White declared was an homage to the good 'ole days of boxing and Muhammed Ali, George Foreman and Joe Frazier, among others.
Despite White's nostalgia and best intentions, UFC on Fox 1 reeled in about 5.7 million viewers last night, which is about 1 million less than the sport's very first taste of terrestrial television three years ago (May 31, 2008) on CBS, when Miami bareknuckle brawler Kimbo Slice took on James Thompson in the Elite XC: "Primetime" main event.
It certainly didn't help that the UFC on Fox 1 main event lasted only 64 seconds, with dos Santos drilling Velasquez upside the head early and finishing off the Mexican fighter shortly thereafter to become the division's latest champion. Had it been more competitive, or at the very least lasted longer, the telecast would more than likely performed better.
What's more, the trilogy fight between Manny Pacquaio vs. Juan Manual Marquez later in the evening certainly didn't help the situation.
Regardless, it wasn't a total flop. The pre- and post-fight shows (for reviews of both click here and here) were entertaining, and the actual pomp and circumstance leading up to the fight was a treat to watch even if it lasted less than one minute.
It certainly gives the promotion and the network a base on which to improve. And if Brock Lesnar defeats Alistair Overeem later this year at UFC 141, it's a pretty good bet that we'll see him and dos Santos locked inside a cage in primetime sometime in early 2012.
That's a record breaker.