Saturday night’s “TUF 18 Finale” event did a substantial numbers increase from the last several live events airing on the network, drawing 1,129,000 viewers according to a report from MMAFighting.com.
The event was headlined by a lightweight bout featuring former title challengers Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard and also showcased the the men’s and women’s final from the recently-completed Ultimate Fighter 18 season.
The number is up 56 percent from the 722,000 viewers of the previous live event on Fox Sports 1, a show which aired in a similar time slot, and was headlined by former UFC champ Vitor Belfort taking on former Pride/Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson.
One would assume that an event headlined by MMA legends Belfort and Henderson would aquire more attention than an event headlined by Diaz and Maynard, but that was not the case.
The “TUF 18 Finale” was the sixth most-watched program on the nearly four-month old station, and the second-highest UFC program, trailing only the Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Chael Sonnen event, which claimed 1,780,000 viewers.
Even more surprising was the number of viewers who turned in for the events Preiliminary fights, 938,000 to be exact. The prelims featured no major ‘name’ fighters, and included four fighters making their respective UFC debuts.
Prior to the “TUF 18 Finale,” the prelims on FS1 had averaged only 375,000 viewers.