The ratings are in for UFC 168 programming on Fox Sports 1, and it's great news across the board. What stands out above the rest are the numbers for the two-hour preliminary card special preceding the PPV broadcast. In an official press release by Fox Sports, the network averaged over 1.5 million viewers on the broadcast, far and away the best rated prelim special on the network since its August debut:
The UFC 168 PRELIMS on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday night (8:00-10:00 PM ET) averaged 1,554,000 viewers, making it the most-watched UFC PRELIMS to date on the channel. The event was up 56% over the previous mark set on Nov. 16 (998,000), and ranks as the fifth most-watched show on the network since launch.
In addition, the exciting two-hour show that featured Uriah Hall's TKO victory over Chris Leben in the final bout, was the second most-watched UFC show to date on FOX Sports 1, only trailing UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN on August 17.
Following the conclusion of UFC 168, the UFC 168 POSTFIGHT SHOW on FOX Sports 1 delivered the most-watched POSTFIGHT show to date with 313,000 viewers, up 26% over FOX Sports 1's first Pay-Per-View postfight show following UFC 167 that had 249,000 viewers
This card was expected to be one of the biggest in UFC history and on the cable television side it is clearly a big success. The post-fight ratings were probably affected (to FS1's benefit) by Anderson Silva's leg break in his title fight loss to Chris Weidman. It was a story large enough to warrant extensive on-site coverage on the late SportsCenter broadcast on ESPN.
There is no word yet on the PPV numbers. The UFC has not reached the 1,000,000 buy mark since Cain Velasquez TKO'd Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 back in 2010. UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 in July 2012 came close at a reported 900,000.