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UFC on FOX 28 gets a moral victory in fast national ratings

Last night's Jeremy Stephens win over Josh Emmett, while doing lower numbers than usual for a FOX special, has to be considered almost a moral win with 1,826,000 viewers and a 0.55 rating in the key 18-49 demo based on the fast nationals.

Given the competition of the Olympics on NBC and the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on ABC, and Emmett's relative unknown status, the show was widely expected to be in the record-low level of the January 27th event headlined by Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Derek Brunson, two fighters who have had far more exposure over the past several years. Instead, it beat that 1,593,000 number by 15 percent.

It also beat FOX's programming against similar competition last Saturday, the Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander boxing match, by 73 percent.

It was still among the lower rated shows in the history of the series.

It also won't benefit as much from the usual factors which lead to increases in the final ratings. The fast nationals measure what is on FOX from 8-10 p.m. Eastern, 7-9 p.m. Central, 6-8 p.m. Mountain time and 8-10 p.m. Pacific time, based on the usual network programming staggers.

Because major network sports usually airs live, the Olympics being the exception, fast nationals don't measure either the West Coast viewers, who watch from 5 p.m., or anything after 10 p.m., because FOX's prime time programming doesn't run in the 10-11 p.m. time slot. On FOX MMA shows, the period after 10 p.m., since it's the main event, is always the most widely-viewed.

In this case, Stephens' second-round win over Emmett ended at 10:06 p.m., so the increase will be less than usual. Also hurting the rating is that KTVU-TV in San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose aired a Chinese New Year celebration.

The key factor to look for Tuesday is the streaming numbers for the show. If the streaming numbers show a sizable increase, it would indicate Northern California viewers who would have watched on television, still watched, switching to FSGo or FOX Now. If those numbers come up at usual levels, it shows that usual television viewers on the UFC in the Bay Area didn't watch through streaming if they couldn't get it on regular television.