Martin McNeil for SB Nation
Bellator's live event on Friday night drew more viewers than the UFC's Saturday live broadcast from England. The total numbers for the UFC event tell a bit of a different story though.
Is Bellator more popular than the UFC? Clearly not. But for one weekend, looking at things the right way, they can at least say that they drew more viewers for a Bellator event than a UFC event. Sherdog gives us the numbers:
Bellator Fighting Championships averaged 190,000 viewers for its seventh-season debut on Friday night, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship attracted 111,000 observers during Saturday afternoon’s live broadcast of UFC on Fuel TV 5.
Sherdog.com confirmed the viewership figures Tuesday with an industry source, who also revealed that the UFC on Fuel TV 5 replay, which aired at 10 p.m. ET, eclipsed the show’s live broadcast mark by pulling 140,000 viewers.
The UFC was at a distinct disadvantage here because their live event aired on Fuel starting at 4 p.m. EST on Saturday, which isn't exactly a hotspot for MMA. If you combine the live number and replay number which did air in prime time, 251,000 viewers total is well ahead of the Bellator number (though MTV2 replays Bellator shows as well, and no replay numbers were available for that show as of right now).
This was the lowest-drawing live Fuel TV card to date, well down from the 173,000 viewers for UFC on Fuel 3. But with the start time and replay improvement, the numbers can be spun a bunch of different ways.