UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen delivers strong ratings on Fox Sports 1 debut

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Fight Night 26 delivered an average of 1.81 million viewers for the promotion's debut on Fox Sports 1 and beat all four networks in the key 18-49 demographic.

Well we don't have to worry that UFC fans won't be able to find their new home on cable television. After weeks of hand-wringing that cable carriers wouldn't be offering Fox Sports 1 in time for the UFC debut on the station, everything came out all right in the end.

Dave Meltzer reported that UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen averaged almost 1.8 million viewers on Saturday night. He commented:

The number is nothing short of remarkable for the first night of a new station in an unfamiliar spot on the dial, even beating out all four networks in the 18-49 demo and every key male demo.

MMA Payout added:

The ratings show that viewers can find a channel if they really want to. The fact that the UFC did so well on the opening night of a new channel is a big win for the UFC and FS1. The numbers and the wins in its key demo (males, 18-49) is a big positive for the UFC. Not sure if Sonnen was the reason for the draw or the fact that people were curious about the new channel. Regardless, the ratings are better than the UFC's live event debut on FX (1.3M) and series average (1.29M).

The UFC took no chances as they stacked the card with PPV caliber fights like Chael Sonnen vs. Shogun Rua and Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne. The relative weakness of the last UFC PPV and UFC on Fox cards can largely be explained by the strength of this card and it was probably the right decision to rob Peter to pay Paul in this instance.

SBN coverage of UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen

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