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UFC on FOX overnight ratings plummet to all-time low for Johnson vs. Reis

Demetrious Johnson shined in the UFC on FOX 24 main event, but the card as a whole struggled to attract a big audience.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Johnson vs Reis Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Demetrious Johnson’s December flyweight title defense against Tim Elliott may have fared well in terms of TV ratings on Fox Sports 1, but Saturday night’s triumph over Wilson Reis produced the worst ever UFC on FOX overnight figures. It’s a shame given the strength of the main card’s quality, but it’s another ratings dud on big FOX this year.

MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has the details:

The 25th installment of the show did 1.74 million viewers on the overnight ratings, and a 0.6 in the 18-49 demo. It was down 18 percent from last year's April FOX special, that did 2.13 million viewers in the overnight ratings and 0.8 in the key demo, headlined by Glover Teixeira vs. Rashad Evans. Two years ago, the April event, headlined by Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida did 2.43 million viewers in the overnight ratings and 0.9 in the 18-49 demo.


FOX had the least viewers of the four major networks on Saturday. However, in the 18-49 demo, the 0.6 tied the NHL playoff game with the Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks for second place behind ABC's airing of the movie, The Ten Commandments, which led everything last night with an 0.8 in the demo and 5.18 million viewers.

And for past Demetrious Johnson main events on FOX:

On January 26, 2013, his title defense against John Dodson did 3.77 million viewers on the overnights, but was likely boosted by Rampage Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira as Jackson was still one of the company's best known stars at the time.

On July 27, 2013, his title defense against John Moraga did 2.04 million viewers on the overnights.

On December 14, 2013, his title defense against Joseph Benavidez drew 2.41 million viewers on the overnights.

Apart from the Easter holiday weekend factor, there was no major sports competition for the UFC that they haven’t dealt with before. Saturday marked the first day of the NBA playoffs, but they’ve held UFC on FOX shows opposite NBA postseason action in each of the past five seasons.

If there’s any optimism for UFC on FOX 24’s ratings, it’s that the card ended after 10 PM ET, so the final number should get a decent bump once the main event is factored in and ratings from West Coast affiliates are sorted out. As an aside, there is a chance that the card actually peaked for Rose Namajunas vs. Michelle Waterson given the pre-fight push Waterson received.

It’s not been a great start to 2017 for UFC events on the main FOX network. UFC on FOX 23 in January only pulled in a 2.02 million figure for overnight ratings, and while Valentina Shevchenko’s win over Julianna Pena peaked at over 3 million, the card averaged only 2.187 million viewers and was one of the lowest-rated FOX events to date.

On the plus side for the UFC, this event broke the Sprint Center gate record for sporting events, coming in at $1,081,193 for a total attendance of 12,171. It wasn’t a sellout, and Kansas City doesn’t have pro teams occupying that arena, but there was definitely a bigger cheer for Mighty Mouse from the Kansas City fans than when we’ve seen DJ in his numerous title bouts in Las Vegas.