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What a shocker, UFC on FOX 27 ratings were the absolute worst

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Overnight ratings for the UFC’s Jacare vs. Brunson event in Charlotte are in, and they’re the lowest in Big FOX history.

UFC Fight Night: Souza v Brunson Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Are you shocked to hear that Saturday night’s UFC on FOX: Jacare vs. Brunson event from Charlotte drew terrible ratings? Probably not. Going into the event, there was an almost palpable sense that no one gave much of a damn about the card. The main event, while solid both on paper and in practice, had no title implications. The undercard’s biggest name is best known as “that dude who keeps mentioning fishing after he wins.” It’s the kind of card that would have drawn jeers as an offering on FOX Sports 1, yet here it was on big FOX.

With all that in mind, there was little chance the event was going to pull good ratings. But it didn’t just pull bad ratings ... it pulled the worst ratings. Specifically, the worst ratings out of all 27 UFC on FOX events. There’s a small caveat to mention before I continue to pile on, namely that these numbers represent overnight ratings that don’t factor in west coast viewing. Final numbers will come out on Tuesday, but are unlikely to bump the UFC up from last place amongst the four major networks.

UFC on FOX 27 drew 1.593 million viewers and a .5 rating amongst the ever important 18-49 demo. MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer notes this is a 21% drop in ratings from 2017’s January event and a 35% drop from 2016’s. There’s a number of other bad statistics that lay out how poorly this event did, and I encourage you to read them. What we’re going to do here is ask why this happened.

Why did this UFC on FOX event end up being an afterthought? What happened to these events on Big FOX being tentpoles to drive mainstream attention to the UFC? It’s not like this was one of the many UFC cards crippled due to injury. The only fight it lost was an Ovince St-Preux vs. Ilir Latifi fight at 205 pounds.

Was this poor card the manifestation of the battle between the UFC and FOX as future television rights are being negotiated? Or a goof up in scheduling, the kind of dog card that is just going to happen sometimes when you’ve got 38 cards a year to plan and 300 million reasons to not care as much as before?

I don’t have answers, but I have watched the UFC fanbase go from a “Gotta catch ‘em all” mentality regarding UFC events to complete disinterest in probably half the events being held these days. There’s tons of reasons for this that we could break down in the comments, but the simple answer for UFC on FOX 27 was that the card was poorly booked.

In a way we should be happy to see that events like this flounder ratings wise, it means the UFC can’t keep serving them up and expecting the masses to tune in. But at what point do these worst ever ratings start to indicate a genuine popularity problem with the sport ... a return to the days where MMA can’t pull the kind of ratings to justify a network television spot at all?