UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens averages just over 700,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A big drop for the UFC and Fox Sports 1 in the ratings department as Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens (and the supporting cast) were unable to pull in significant viewing numbers

Last week was the first ever headlining spot for Cub Swanson and just the second for Jeremy Stephens. Swanson took an entertaining unanimous decision over Stephens in San Antonio to earn (likely) a title shot against the Jose Aldo/Chad Mendes winner. Unfortunately for Cub, his main event debut did not produce good ratings. Fox Sports' Sr. Director of Digital Strategy Carleton Curtis has the details on this card's ratings:

That's a 42% drop from UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov, which averaged 1.24 million. According to The MMA Report, the show's viewership peaked at 852,000 during the first hour. Of course, the string of decisions on the main card meant that the the main event didn't start until 1 AM ET on the East Coast, which is later than most PPVs.

This is really not a good number, but it's also not particularly stunning. There were hardly any identifiable names on the card, including TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum. In contrast, UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov had impressive ratings with a well-known former champion in the main event, plus Diego Sanchez and John Dodson also occupying prominent spots on the card.

While Swanson vs. Stephens is a fine fight and (at least to me) a good main event, this highlights the lack of even cable TV draws the UFC has below lightweight. Swanson is an exciting, talented fighter who can legitimately compete for a title, but the "must-watch" appeal isn't there. Jeremy Stephens was nearly cut two years ago and now is headlining shows, and even beforehand he was a fringe top 15 lightweight at best and thus never seriously pushed as someone who could even be a co-main on a Fight Night. They've spent the bulk of their careers as main card openers on UFNs or on PPV, so it's really not that reasonable to expect a significant level of interest in them as compared to Lyoto Machida (whose fight with Gegard Mousasi averaged 1.4 million viewers).

The next UFC Fight Night is on Wednesday, July 16th, with Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller in the main event and Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham in the co-main.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker