UFC 247 prelims did big numbers on ESPN

Andrea Lee, Joanne Calderwood

The UFC 247 prelims did some big numbers on ESPN and ESPN+ in the lead-up to the main card in Houston, Texas on February 8.

The big UFC 247 card, which was headlined by Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, served as the company’s second pay-per-view event of the year. While many fans and pundits were expecting a big drop off from the Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone main event which took place at UFC 246, it seems as if they did better than expected.

As reported by MMA Fighting, the prelims on ESPN recorded an average of 1,491,000 viewers.

The UFC 247 prelims actually began at 8:52pm instead of 8pm which came as a result of the Duke vs. North Carolina basketball game which wound up going into overtime. The UFC clearly benefitted from the lead-in, too, with Lauren Murphy vs. Andrea Lee being watched by 2,074,000 viewers.

While the figures may support the idea that the basketball massively helped the UFC with this kind of performance, it’s also clear to see that there was a real interest behind Jones defending the title against Reyes. One of the most obvious pieces of evidence for that is the 2.1 million Google searches that the fight did.

That’s big business and whether people want to admit it or not, Jon Jones is still one of the biggest draws in mixed martial arts and it doesn’t appear as if that trend is going to change anytime soon.

While Jan Blachowicz may be campaigning for a title fight after his knockout win over Corey Anderson at the weekend, it’s hard to argue against these numbers and it’s hard to argue that there would probably be an even higher level of interest in a Reyes rematch.

Whether or not that comes to be is a different matter altogether.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/17/2020.