It’s a very Merry Christmas for the UFC and the Fox Network this morning. According to reports, the overnight ratings for the UFC 206 rebroadcast on the main Fox network Christmas Eve are in, and the network scored big. Approximately 4.689 million viewers tuned in for the broadcast. Keep in mind that overnight ratings are subject to change, and the final number may be adjusted later. These ratings also do not take into consideration DVR viewership, which can add viewers after the fact.
Either way, it’s great news for Fox and the UFC. UFC 206 took place December 10th in Toronto, and the much-maligned card wound up being an over achiever that produced the UFC Fight of the Year in DooHo Choi vs. Cub Swanson. Matt Brown vs. Cowboy Cerrone, the night’s co-main event, also made the cut for the UFC’s Top 10 fights of the year.
In the main event, Max Holloway scored a TKO victory over Anthony Pettis to secure the interim Featherweight championship.
The importance of this event performing well on Fox cannot be understated, as UFC owners WME-IMG are currently in the early stages of shopping around for a new television deal. Whether the promotion remains with Fox, moves elsewhere, or splits content between networks, ratings will likely be more important than ever over the next year.
As a point of comparison, UFC on Fox 1, featuring a title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, averaged 5.7 million viewers. However recent Fox cards have brought in 2 to 3 million viewers a show. That a previously recorded show having already aired on PPV could bring in such a high number is remarkable.