At least 99.9 percent of the promos leading up to Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 59 event evolved around Conor McGregor (pictured). The UFC and FOX were shoving the Irishman down the general public’s throats as MMA’s next coming.
Well, their McGregor-specific strategy paid off big time.
According to Nielsen Ratings, 2,751,000 viewers made the show the most-watched MMA event ever on FOX Sports 1. It was the most-watched ad-supported cable television since the UFC’s TUF Finale on Spike TV in December 2009. (Like how the UFC and FOX’s press release took an indirect jab at Spike?)
Viewership for the main event peaked in the final quarter-hour, from 12:00-12:15 AM ET, with 3,162,000 viewers.
It certainly helped the UFC and FOX’s cause that the NFL’s NFC Championship Game was on earlier in the day and promoted the heck out of the event.
UFC Fight Night 59’s preliminary card averaged 908,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched non-PPV prelims in FOX Sports 1 history behind the Rousey-Tate TUF Finale prelims in November 2013.
McGregor plastered Dennis Siver in the show’s featured attraction.
Now that McGregor’s drawing power for freebie fight cards can’t be denied, let’s see if fans will be willing to shell out money to watch “Notorious” challenge UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in his next outing. That pay-per-view broadcast is expected to go down Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas.