Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The UFC 156 preliminary card on FX set a new record for best ratings and most viewers beating UFC on FX 7's record set just a week before with nearly 1.9 million viewers.
Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting is reporting some more good news for the UFC:
Saturday's UFC 156 prelims drew 1,897,000 viewers, topping the previous UFC on FX record of 1,860,000 viewers set two weeks earlier for the Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping card from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The number was a huge increase from the prelims on FX on Jan. 26 before the FOX network special from Chicago's United Center which did 1,208,000 viewers.
The largest previous audience on FX for prelims before a big show came on July 7 when the UFC 148 prelims did 1.8 million viewers. But that was to be expected, since there was more interest in UFC on that day with the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen middleweight title rematch than any day over the past two years.
This is excellent news for the UFC, especially in light of recent news that FX would no longer be hosting sports programming and that the UFC would be moving to the new Fox Sports 1 (currently the Speed channel) and Fox Sports 2 (currently Fuel TV).
These strong ratings will help them negotiate better placement on the new station and help make them a higher priority with network execs juggling a number of sports properties all competing for air time.
Unfortunately it seems just as the UFC's fanbase is getting used to tuning into FX they will be moving again.