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UFC 215 Prelims ratings were a disaster ... but not because the fights sucked

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UFC 215: Nunes v Shevchenko 2 Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the pay-per-view (PPV) market last Saturday night (Sept. 9, 2017) for UFC 215: "Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2," which took place inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The promotion's most recent mixed martial arts (MMA) event was headlined by Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko, with “Lioness” capturing a split decision win over “Bullet” to retain her bantamweight strap.

That bout replaced Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg, after “The Tazmexican Devil” withdrew due to illness (full story here).

The strength of the main card is usually a strong indicator of what kind of interest will be generated for the preliminary bouts on FOX Sports 1, but this event — with great undercard action — was doomed regardless of what was happening on PPV.

MMA Fighting reports:

Last Saturday's two-hour prelims was split with the first hour on FS 2, unadvertised on the station, and the second hour on FS 1, starting one hour after its scheduled start. The reasons start with the show not starting on time on FS 1, due to coverage of the Walker Cup golf tournament running long. People who set DVR's to see the match would have missed the first hour of prelim fights. FS 1 alerted viewers who were tuning in to see the UFC broadcast to go to FS 2. But a large percentage of viewers didn't have access to the station. FS 2 is currently available in about 52,170,000 U.S. homes as compared to 84,421,000 for FS 1.

Yikes.

To be fair, UFC was also up against demographic-infringing NASCAR, as well four national college football games, including Oklahoma vs. Ohio State, which returned 8,081,000 viewers, along with national coverage of Hurricane Irma.

The numbers:

Hour 1 on FS2: 153,000 viewers
Hour 2 on FS1: 418,000 viewers

2017 average: 865,000
Previous low: 657,000

For a complete recap of the UFC 215 prelims click here.