Bellator 85 draws close to 1 million viewers in Spike TV debut

The ratings are in and Bellator's Spike TV debut featuring two title fights drew 938,000 viewers, a very strong showing.

Bellator and Spike TV officials revealed that the promotion's long-awaited debut on Spike TV was a success: 938,000 viewers tuned in last night to watch Bellator 85 featuring a Lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Rick Hawn and a Featherweight title fight between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire.

While it's doubtful that they will continue to draw this strong as future cards will not be quite as stacked, this is a very strong debut and exceeded any of the best case estimates I can recall hearing before the event aired.

MMA Junkie has charted Bellator's historical ratings and as you can see below, this is an enormous jump:

Bellator's all-time ratings include:
Bellator 85 ratings: 938,000 viewers
Bellator 74-84 ratings (Season 7 average on MTV2): 162,000
Bellator 71-73 ratings (Summer Series average on MTV2): 180,000
Bellator 60-70 ratings (Season 6 average on MTV2): 155,000
Bellator 49-59 ratings (Season 5 average on MTV2): 186,000
Bellator 46-48 ratings (Summer Series average on MTV2): 229,000
Bellator 35-45 ratings (Season 4 average on MTV2): 204,000

As a point of comparison here are some of the numbers the UFC has been posting on FX and Fuel TV, again via MMA Junkie:

The all-time UFC on FX main-card ratings include:
UFC on FX 2 ratings: 1.4 million viewers
UFC on FX 4 ratings: 1.3 million
UFC on FX 1 ratings: 1.3 million
UFC on FX 3 ratings: 1.1 million
UFC on FX 5 ratings: 1.1 million
UFC on FX 6 ratings: 972,000

The all-time UFC on FX preliminary-card showing on Fuel TV ratings include:

UFC on FX 4 ratings: 160,000 viewers
UFC on FX 2 ratings: 113,000
UFC on FX 1 ratings: 148,000
UFC on FX 6 ratings: 96,000
UFC on FX 3 ratings: 84,000
UFC on FX 5 ratings: 44,000

Finally here are some UFC Fight Night ratings from their tenure on Spike TV which ended in December, 2011:

UFC Fight Night 25: 1.8 million viewers
UFC Fight Night 24: 2.2 million
UFC Fight Night 23: 1.8 million

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