MMA Payout reports:
MMAPayout.com has learned that UFC on Versus 2 drew a .86HH on the strength of 991,000 average viewers on Sunday evening. These numbers are down by just over 20% from the UFC's debut on Versus last March, which saw the UFC earn a 1.1 HH rating with 1.24 million viewers.
The numbers are not great, especially when you compare them to what the UFC does on Spike TV. The caliber of this fight card was pretty high and featured one of the brightest young stars in the game. It should have garnered a stronger result.
However, I'll restate my position on the Versus experiment by saying that these ratings are a necessary short term consequence or sacrifice meant to bring about a long term gain. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is a fan base.
The only true concern that I have is what kind of talking point, or lack thereof, this provides for the UFC when negotiating with major networks. I suspect executives will point to these first two cards as evidence that the UFC will not be as successful on mainstream television as it has been on Spike TV. While I don't believe this to be true - nor does the UFC - it will still probably work against the UFC's favor in the short run (making it harder for the UFC to secure something in the next little while).
More in the full entry.
MMA Mania comments:
The last UFN card which saw Kenny Florian easily dispose of Takanori Gomi averaged 1.6 million viewers on Spike TV, but it is impornat to note that Spike TV is available in approximately 25 million more homes.
In a more apples to apples comparison that paints these numbers in a positive light, WEC events that regularly air on Versus draw on average just a few hundred thousand viewers. While the UFC brand does not accompany those shows, the product is at least available to the same amount of prospective fans.
It's too bad more people didn't tune in to see Jon Jones continue his ascension to the top of the 205-pound division as he had a harder time finishing his breakfast the morning of the fight than he did his actual opponent, Vladimir Matyushenko. A star was indeed born.
This is indeed disappointing news. The UFC put on a great product with a stacked card featuring a fast rising star. The only thing missing was a credible opponent. Vladimir Matyushenko has long been a top notch MMA fighter, but his name ID is very low and anyone hardcore enough to know who Vladdy is also know that he's 39 and was being brought in to test Jones, nothing more.
But on the positive note, the event was an absolute home run in terms of major television coverage. Steve Cofield is on the case:
In terms of star power or the outcome of some of the televised fights, it wasn't the best card ever, but UFC on Versus 2 was a huge winner when it came to exposure for the sport. The Sunday night primetime spot proved beneficial with little to compete against in the sports world. Versus went all in with its coverage, especially the postfight show. The network went back to San Diego for live spots with the winners, UFC analyst Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White. Former WEC color voice Frank Mir even served as the studio analyst back in New York. ...
The UFC pulled off a coup Monday morning with a Jon Jones appearance on ESPN's "SportsCenter." The very informed and excited Josh Elliott anchored the interview. That's a solid spot considering Jones was a minus-650 favorite and dispatched of Vladimir Matyushenko very easily, with few explosive highlights.
Does Jones even qualify as one of the top-10 names in MMA? Didn't the Juan Manuel Marquez (top-5 boxer by most accounts) win stand as a bigger story in the fight world? Yet ESPN chose to go with MMA.
It's not the usual blockbuster ratings the UFC delivers, especially on a slow Sunday evening in August, but it was anything but a bust. If the numbers on Versus continue to decline we will have a problem.
One other thing to watch will be the numbers for the next WEC event on Versus. They've been on a long slow slide down and show no signs of recovering.