Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White spent much of the post-fight press conference and media scrum following UFC on Fox 4: "Shogun vs. Vera" last night (Sat., Aug. 4, 2012) explaining away the ratings for the event before they ever even came in.
The main point of contention was the Olympics. Indeed, NBC has been crushing the competition, drawing upwards of 30 million viewers for the Summer Games going down over in London. How could the UFC possibly compete with that on a Saturday night?
That's not even considering the fact that Total Recall just came out. That blockbuster surely stole some viewers.
Well, the overnight ratings are in and it turns out UFC on Fox 4 averaged around 2.14 million viewers and peaked at 2.36 million. Here's the breakdown by the half hour from TV By The Numbers (via our friends at Bloody Elbow):
8:00 - 0.9 Rating - 1.91 million viewers
8:30 - 1.1 Rating - 2.1 million viewers
9:00 - 1.2 Rating - 2.2 million viewers
9:30 - 1.2 Rating - 2.36 million viewers
There are a few things to consider here for this early number, namely that it's an early number and certainly not final. The numbers we have here are only ranging from 8-10 p.m. ET and doesn't include any overrun, which is when much of the main event bout pitting Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera took place.
Plus, this is essentially without counting the west coast, the strongest market for the UFC. So what can we glean from all this?
This isn't bad for the UFC, though it's not exactly good. Sure, you'll get the typical Dana White spin once he talks about it but the number will be going up and will likely settle right around where UFC on Fox 3: "Diaz vs. Miller" did, which was at about 2.4 million viewers.
That's somewhat troubling in the sense that this event had significantly more star power but when factoring in the heavy competition from the Olympics, it's really not so bad.
The good news, no matter how you slice it, is the card absolutely delivered from top to bottom. Mike Swick kicked off the main card with a rousing second round knockout of DaMarques Johnson before Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner went out and put on a "Fight of the Year" candidate.
Then Lyoto Machida knocked out Ryan Bader with one punch in their co-main event match-up, which earned "The Dragon" the next shot at the 205-pound strap, as announced on FOX before they went off the air.
The main event was also amazing, as "Shogun" and Vera went toe-to-toe for four rounds, exchanging punches and kicks and paying off the story that Vera, as a big underdog, put forth an inspiring effort before wilting and losing via stoppage.
It was a great night of fights with a decent rating against strong competition.
For complete UFC on Fox 4 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here and here.