The first show on NBC appears to have done well for the World Series of Fighting.
The card, which featured a lightweight title bout between Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell for Gaethje's championship, drew 906,000 viewers. That's obviously a record for WSOF, which routinely draws around 200,000 viewers for their fights on NBCSN.
The late afternoon timeslot has proven successful for fights in the past.
A boxing match between Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham on NBC in late December 2012 aired on NBC in a similar timeslot. That fight drew an average of 1.6 million viewers, peaking at 3.2 million.
A few months later, Cunningham fought Tyson Fury in the same slot on NBC and drew an average of 1.2 million viewers, peaking at 1.7 million.
On a different network, but still network TV in the same timeslot, Leo Santa Cruz faced Alberto Guevara on CBS, drawing about 1.5 million viewers.
That mid-afternoon slot seems to be gold for fights that aren't really "big time." It's before most people go out for evening plans (dinner, movies, whatever) and fits the "easy to turn on and just watch" need that most sports can hit.
Dave Meltzer did write about one potential negative over at MMA Fighting:
The negative is the visual of the main event, where Newell, born with one arm, took a terrible beating from Gaethje. It would have likely been a major turnoff to anyone who had not seen Newell fight in the past, which would likely have been the case for the vast majority of the viewers.
It's easy for you or I, who are aware of Newell's talent, to not be shocked and act as though anyone who had a problem with it has some sort of "problem." But it was going to be jarring to someone tuning in the first time to see a guy with a physical handicap having a beating put on him. The natural reaction is going to be negative for many, many people.