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UFC debut on ABC averages 1.2 million viewers

Image: UFC/Getty Images

The UFC's first network TV broadcast in two years averaged 1.22 million viewers on ABC.

Last Saturday's three-hour afternoon show from Yas Island was headlined by an all-time great performance by former featherweight champion Max Holloway in a win over Calvin Kattar along with three other finishes and a fun fight between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown.

The show averaged 471,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo, good for a 0.49 rating.

The viewership was considerably down from the range of 2-2.5 million viewers UFC used to do on Fox with their last show airing there in December 2018. However, that show, like all Fox main cards, were in primetime and not in the afternoon.

One factor is the majority of the show went up against an NFL playoff game that averaged 26.5 million viewers on Fox. Even the pregame show that went against the rest of the card brought in 7.5 million viewers. The show was also simulcast on ESPN+.

While UFC never had a main card during the afternoon on Fox, they often aired prelims there before pay-per-view main cards and those shows did similar numbers to last Saturday and sometimes even less. 

Some examples: a February 24, 2018 show that aired from 5-8 PM Eastern averaged 1.214 million viewers; an April 14, 2018, show with a similar airtime averaged 970,000 viewers; and a July 28, 2018, show did 939,000 viewers.

The final Fox show in December 2018 (8 PM Eastern start time) did 1.8 million viewers with the FS2 prelims doing 256,000 viewers.