December 2nd saw UFC and Bellator facing off on Cable, both featuring a women’s championship fight in the main event.
With a lack of star power on both sides, a significant dip in the ratings.
The TUF 26 Finale on Friday night, headlined by Nicco Montaño becoming the first women’s flyweight champion in history in a five-round decision over Roxanne Modafferi, did 501,000 viewers. It ended up becoming the lowest rated live UFC show ever on FS1 in prime time. The previous lows were 609,000 viewers for a July 13, 2016, show headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Lando Vannata and on May 31, 2014, for a show headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Fabio Maldonado.
The audience was steady throughout as the main event peaked after 1 a.m. in the closing rounds at 566,000 viewers.
The show also drew 5,271 viewers over an average minute streaming on FOX New and FOX Sports Go.
The prelims averaged 361,000 viewers, and an additional 3,569 viewers streaming during an average minute. The previous lowest number in 2017 for primetime prelims for a live fight show was 453,000.
Bellator’s event from Thackerville, Oklahoma, headlined by Julia Budd retaining her featherweight title over Arlene Blencowe, did 439,000 viewers, which would be the third lowest for a primetime show since Bellator has been on Spike.
On Saturday, against several college football conference championship games and the retirement fight of Miguel Cotto on HBO, the prelims before UFC 218, featuring one of the year’s best fights with Yancy Medeiros’ win over Alex Oliveira, did 694,000 viewers.
December 2nd’s broadcast was the fourth lowest prelims before a pay-per-view event in 2017. That would indicate a lower-than-usual pay-per-view number. Prelim ratings are usually, but not always, a good predictor of the pay-per-view number.
The Medeiros vs. Oliveira fight peaked the number at 841,000 viewers.
The show went against college football on FOX, ABC and ESPN, with the FOX game with Ohio State vs. Wisconsin doing 12,918,000 viewers.
In boxing, the Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali fight ended up with 944,000 viewers, the second biggest number for a boxing match this year on HBO. The Cotto vs. Ali fight competed against UFC 218 pay per view.
The UFC 218 pre-fight show before the prelims started on FS1 ND did 170,000 viewers. The post-fight show on FS 1 did 114,000 viewers.