The growing pains continue for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as it struggles to hold onto its pay-per-view (PPV) “Prelims” audience on ESPN. The four fights televised on “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” last Sat. night (May 11, 2019) from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, returned just 813,000 viewers, according to Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting.
That number is no doubt a disappointment when you consider some the established names available for free viewing on ESPN, including but not limited to BJ Penn, Clay Guida, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, just to name a few.
Here’s the ESPN PPV “Prelims” breakdown to date:
UFC 234 “Adesanya vs. Silva”: 1.33 million
UFC 235 “Jones vs. Smith”: 1.48 million
UFC 236 “Poirier vs. Holloway 2”: 893,000
UFC 237 “Namajunas vs. Andrade”: 813,000
This trend does not bode well for the UFC 238 PPV “Prelims” (see them here).
It’s still too early into UFC’s longterm deal with ESPN to draw any concrete conclusions, though I will say that Professional Fighters League (PFL) has to be worried about its 137,000 viewers on ESPN2, considering this marks the promotion’s second season.
Especially when Combate Americas is drawing 382,000 viewers on Univision at midnight.
For much more on UFC ratings click here.