The UFC proved once again to be the king of young men on cable television on Wednesday, September 17 with a live “UFC Fight Night” (8:00-10pm) and the premiere of season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” (10:00-11:00pm).
Spike TV’s “UFC Fight Night,” headlined by Nate Diaz and Josh “The Dentist” Neer’s, placed #1 with Men 18-34, 18-49, 18-24, and 25-34. In fact, the UFC fight drew more young men than ESPN’s telecast of Major League baseball game in the heat of a pennant race and ESPN2’s college football telecast combined as the Spike telecast drew 913,000 Men 18-49 and 465,000 Men 18-34. By comparison, ESPN’s telecast of the Red Sox vs. Rays and ESPN’s Louisville vs. Kansas St. college football game drew a combined 858,000 Men 18-49 and 373,000 Men 18-34.
Overall, the UFC fight card, emanating from the sold-out Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska, earned a 1.6 in M18-49, a 1.6 in M18-34, and an average audience of 1.8 million viewers. The viewership peaked for Diaz’s thrilling split-decision victory over Neer in the main event with 2.3 million tuning in.
Following the live fight, the premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter 8″ ranked #1 in cable in M18-49 (846,000) with a 1.5 rating. Overall, the premiere earned a 1.2 household rating, a 1.5 in M18-34, and an average audience of 1.6 million viewers. Frank Mir and Antonio Nogueira, two of the world’s top heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters, serve as coaches for season eight of the popular Spike TV series.
For comparison’s sake, UFC Fight Night 15 drew significantly smaller numbers than UFC Fight Night 14, which peaked at 4.46 million viewers, although that event was headlined by Anderson Silva and took place on a weekend.
The TUF 8 premiere’s ratings fell slightly from the TUF 7 premiere which drew a 1.3. As the season progresses the ratings have dipped and hovered around the 1.0-1.2 mark in recent years.