The numbers are in for the UFC 150 preliminary card special on FX, and they're not good at all. After experiencing very weak numbers for UFC 149 at one million exactly, they've done even worse this time around, dipping below the million viewer mark for the 2nd time in 4 events. MMA Weekly confirmed the news today:
The UFC 150 Prelims on FX registered at 974,000 viewers on average for the two-hour telecast, according to industry sources.
The prelim telecasts on FX, through nine events, currently average 1.27 million viewers per event.
This prelims special did not feature any notable names beyond TUF runner-up Dennis Bermudez, and it was going head-to-head with NBC's Olympics coverage, which were the highest-rated in US TV history.
While there's no sufficient evidence to suggest preliminary card specials help PPV buys, there does seem to be a holding pattern of PPV interest affecting the preliminary card ratings. FX's season best special is UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen at 1.8 million viewers, which is also currently the best selling PPV of 2012. Their second best was UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans at 1.6 million viewers, and that card stands as the UFC's second best selling show of the year. Conversely, UFC 147's prelim show, which also did less than 1 million, was the UFC's worst PPV buyrate in over a half-decade. This trend largely held true for Spike TV, as some of the highest rated prelim shows were major cards such as UFC 126, 129, 114, 121, and 141.
Needless to say, external factors such as the Olympics aside, the statistics suggest this almost certainly does not bode well for the buyrate of UFC 150.