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Kimbo vs. Shamrock Bellator MMA main event averages 2.1 million viewers on Spike

Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock was a ratings hit for Spike TV on Friday night.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Whatever your thoughts were before and after last Friday's Bellator 138 main event between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock, there's no denying that this fight was a major hit for casual and hardcore viewers alike. In an official press release sent out by Spike TV, the full broadcast averaged 1.6 million, and the main event averaged more than 2 million viewers, making it the most-watched event in Bellator MMA history.

The highly-anticipated showdown between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock was the highest rated and most watched Bellator MMA fight ever on Spike. The Slice-Shamrock fight delivered 2.1 million viewers (11:45pm-12:00am) on Friday, June 19.

The overall Bellator 138 card also drew record numbers for Bellator on Spike, delivering 1.6 million viewers and was #1 with Men 18-49 in all of television in its timeslot. It also ranked #1 with Adults 18-49 on cable in the timeslot.

It should be noted that peak viewership figures will not be known until later this week, so while Kimbo vs. Shamrock averaged 2.1 million, the peak number will be higher. The previous high was Bellator 131: Ortiz vs. Bonnar, which had a 1.2 million average audience and peak viewership at 2 million for the main event (not including +3 DVR). Kimbo vs. Shamrock is the most watched MMA fight on cable TV since Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver pulled in 2.7 million viewers in January for the UFC on Fox Sports 1.

Since Scott Coker took over as Bellator MMA president in June, the promotion has managed record ratings twice within the past 8 months. It's all the more impressive when you consider Kimbo vs. Shamrock was a Friday night event and previous bests have been on Saturday night.

This also demonstrates what a TV draw Kimbo Slice still proves to be, even though he hadn't competed in MMA since 2010. Take a look at these average viewing figures:

Win vs. James Thompson (CBS) - 4.85 million (with 6.5 million peak)
Loss to Seth Petruzelli (CBS) - 4.56 million (with 5.5 million peak)
TUF 10 premiere (Spike) - 4.1 million
TUF 10 loss to Roy Nelson (Spike) - 5.3 million
TUF 10 Finale win vs. Houston Alexander (Spike) - 3.7 million (with 5.2 million peak)
Win vs. Ken Shamrock (Spike) - 2.1 million (peak unknown)

All in all, it is definitely a major milestone for Bellator, and they'll surely be pushing for another big number with their planned Dynamite!! co-promoted show with GLORY kickboxing on September 19th. That card is headlined by Liam McGeary vs. Tito Ortiz and also features a four-man, one-night light heavyweight tournament with King Mo, Phil Davis, Emanuel Newton, and Linton Vassell.