UFC on Fox 7 ratings: 3.31 million viewers tune in for Henderson's title defense - Bloody Elbow

This past Saturday saw one of the best UFC events in memory, capped off with an extremely competitive lightweight title fight when Ben Henderson retained his title by split decision over Gilbert Melendez. While the show was fantastic top to bottom it was a bit of a dip in terms of ratings from the January show.

TV By The Numbers with the details:
FOX was number one with adults 18-49 and with total viewers.

On FOX, UFC: Henderson vs. Melendez earned a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating down 17 percent from a 1.8 for the previous UFC on Fox on January 26.
Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting tries to put some context into the numbers:

Henderson vs. Melendez was the deeper show and had a stronger main event, although lacked someone with the proven national drawing power of a Jackson or a Penn. All things being equal, it should have beaten the previous two shows because Henderson should have come off the December win over Diaz as a bigger star.

It should be pointed out key points when it comes to the fast national ratings. The first is the fast nationals only rated the show from 8-10 p.m. in all time slots. That means that most of the main event, which in this case would almost surely be the most-watched segment of the show, is not figured into the average. So the final number should be up significantly, probably in the 4 million viewer range and a rating in the mid-2s.

The second is it rates the live airing in three of the four U.S. time zones, Eastern, Central and Mountain. On the West Coast, where UFC viewership is the strongest, it rates what airs on FOX affiliates from 8-10 p.m., and not the 5-7:40 p.m. live airing.
The NFL push for the previous fight probably helped considerably while Fox had been lacking for major sporting events in the lead up to this event.
That's a nice number, regardless of the 17% dip in ratings. Curious to see what this weekend's PPV buyrate will be considering they advertised the hell out of UFC 159.