Shamrock-Kimbo Ratings Proves “Freak Show Fights” Have Their Place In MMA

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Say what you will about “freak show fights,” however the numbers speak for themselves, and never was that more factually proven than this past Friday evening.

As we reported on Monday evening, Bellator 138: “Unfinished Business,” which aired live and free on Spike TV on Friday, June 19, 2015, averaged 1.6 million viewers overall, peaking at 2.1 million viewers for the quarter hour that featured the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice main event, meaning when all of the final numbers come in, the Shamrock-Kimbo fight will have likely been seen by a significantly larger audience.

It was the single most-watched show in the history of Bellator MMA, and the second most-watched fight so far this year on cable television, trailing only the Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver main event from UFC Fight Night 59 on January 17, 2015. In fact, the McGregor-Siver bout on 1/17 was actually the most-watched fight in the history of UFC on FOX Sports 1.

Bellator’s previous cable ratings record came for their last “freak show fight,” as the Bellator 131 event on November 15, 2014, which featured Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar in the headline bout of the evening, drew 1.24 million viewers for the complete show, while the Ortiz-Bonnar fight itself peaked at 1.84 million viewers.