The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is already reaping the rewards of its television deal with ESPN.
On Feb. 9, UFC 234 took place inside the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Headlining the pay-per-view was a middleweight clash between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva. After three rounds of action, Adesanya earned a unanimous decision victory. UFC 234 was supposed to be headlined by a middleweight title bout between champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. Whittaker had to pull out due to a hernia in his abdomen.
UFC 234 Preliminary Viewership Revealed
The UFC 234 prelims raked in an average of 1,339,000 viewers on ESPN (via MMAFighting.com). Usually a high number for the prelims indicates a pretty decent pay-per-view buyrate, but the move to ESPN has introduced the product to more viewers than FOX Sports 1 could. The UFC 234 prelims followed the Duke vs. Virginia college basketball game, which brought in 3,318,000 viewers. The game certainly played a role in high viewership for the UFC 234 prelims.
The UFC 234 prelims capped off with a lightweight bout between Devonte Smith and Dong Hyun Ma. Smith earned a first-round TKO victory. The UFC 234 prelims peaked with Kyung Ho Kang vs. Teruto Ishihara at 2.3 million viewers.
MMA News provided coverage of UFC 234. Peep the homepage for results, highlights, and all the post-fight goodness.