Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Mitch Gagnon (black shorts) during the bantamweight bout of UFC 149 against Bryan Caraway (blue shorts) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
The ratings are in for the two-hour prelims special on FX for UFC 149, and unsurprisingly they are low, pulling in just one million viewers over the weekend (via MMA Weekly):
Saturday’s UFC 149 Prelims from Calgary drew an average of 1 million viewers over the course its two-hour broadcast on FX. The average draw of prelims on FX over the course of eight events is now 1.31 million per show.
Unfortunately, the prelims were easily the only consistent entertainment of the entire card, and the finishes on the live FX fights were enough to show the audience the two fights that aired on Facebook earlier in the evening. The lack of familiar names probably played a role in the low ratings, compared to the season-high 1.8 million for UFC 148 with fighters such as Melvin Guillard on the special.
It's no coincidence that the three lowest-rated preliminary card specials are also part of the three lowest selling PPVs; they are UFC 142, 147, and 149. This generally held true when the prelims were on Spike, with seven of the ten highest-rated specials all coming on PPVs with buyrates of 500k or higher. So while there's no tangible evidence of prelim fights influencing PPV numbers, the inverse seems pretty conclusive with the quality of PPVs affecting how the prelim specials do in the ratings.