Fresh off the "remarkable numbers" Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) garnered with its UFC Fight Night 26 event on Aug. 17 in Boston, its sophomore effort on FOX Sports 1, UFC Fight Night 27, saw a 54-percent drop in viewers, according to a report from MMA Fighting.
Unlike "Shogun vs. Sonnen," which took place on a Saturday night and featured a "sick fight card," the Aug. 28 "Condit vs. Kampmann 2" broadcast aired on Wednesday night, pulling a 0.69 rating for 824,000 viewers, compared to the 1.38 rating and 1.78 million viewers the week before.
But, the sky is not falling, according to Dave Meltzer:
The show peaked with the Condit vs. Kampmann main event, as the final 15 minutes of the show did 1,017,000 viewers. The prelims on Fox Sports 2 did a 0.25 rating and 109,000 viewers. For FS 1, the show was a big success, as the station was averaging about 160,000 viewers in prime time. It was the third most-watched show in the 12-day old station, behind the main card fights on Aug. 17, and the prelims of that same show. On the plus side, FS 1 did beat ESPN in the key 18-49 demo on Wednesday night, doing a 0.55, more than doubling the Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles game.
What does all this mean?
Not much. FOX Sports 1 & 2 have replaced FX, FUEL TV and SPEED as the network's home for sports programming. But, as the report indicates, the new channel is not even a month old and has yet to get its sea legs. UFC also hasn't seen a midweek show since the VERSUS days.
It's going to take some time to establish a regular routine and the numbers will likely even out along the way. But whether they do so in a positive or negative direction remains to be seen. Mixed martial arts (MMA) is being aired on FOX for free, fight fans.
Let's not take it for granted.