Last Saturday night turned out to be a big hit for the entire combat sports world.
As previously reported, the Triller pay-per-view boxing event between Jake Paul and Ben Askren was a smashing success, estimated at selling over one million buys. In terms of cable TV, combat sports also brought in a lot of viewers, with the UFC Vegas 24 event averaging 953,000 viewers, making it the third highest-rated program on cable TV on Saturday (per MMA Fighting).
The main event of the card featured former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker facing Kelvin Gastelum. Originally intended to take place two years ago on pay-per-view, viewers took advantage of being offered the fight for free on ESPN. The fight did not disappoint, with the main eventers earning Fight of the Night honors and Whittaker ultimately getting his hand raised in victory.
The prelims had very strong numbers as well, pulling in an average of 879,000 viewers. Overall, the UFC Vegas 24 card was the highest-rated UFC program on ESPN in 2021 thus far, so the strong viewership for the Jake Paul/Ben Askren pay-per-view did nothing to significantly hurt the event numbers. The success of both events also is a testament to the multitasking ability of fans, many of whom no doubt juggled both events simultaneously.
The UFC’s partnership with ESPN continues to be a big success for both parties. This weekend, the UFC will produce a blockbuster pay-per-view with three title fights in UFC 261, including the main event featuring UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Both ESPN and the UFC will hope to follow up on these strong network numbers on the UFC 261 prelims and maybe match or even eclipse the buys for Jake Paul/Ben Askren with the pay-per-view main card.
You can view the full UFC Vegas 24 results here.
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