Spike TV LogoThe press release:


Need proof the UFC is the preeminent mixed martial arts brand in the world? On Saturday, July 26, more men 18-34 watched a repeat…a repeat…of a UFC event on Spike TV than a LIVE telecast of a Pro EliteXC championship card on CBS. Despite being available in over 17 million more homes, Spike TV drew 27% more Men 18-34 for a re-broadcast of “UFC 84: Penn vs. Sherk” from (9:00-12:00am ET/PT) than CBS’s live show (9:00-11:00pm). Spike TV’s telecast tallied 433,000 Men 18-34 to CBS’s 341,000.

Overall, “UFC 84: Penn vs. Sherk” drew higher ratings than Pro EliteXC in Men 18-49 (1.5 to 1.3) and Men 18-34 (1.5 and 1.0).

Reminiscent of the XFL’s rating collapse years ago, the CBS telecast was 69% lower in Men 18-34 and 57% lower with Men 18-49 than its initial broadcast on CBS in May featuring the “He Hate Me” of MMA, Kimbo Slice.

Compared to last week’s live Spike TV UFC telecast featuring arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva, the UFC outdrew CBS by 165% with Men 18-34, 82% with Men 18-49, and 21% with total viewers.

You would think this press release originated right from Dana White’s desk, but it didn’t. It came from Spike TV, which is ironic considering Spike is owned by the same company that owns CBS—Viacom.

Regardless, the UFC did beat EliteXC in the key demographics on July 26, and the live “Silva vs Irvin” event from July 19 pulled more viewers overall than “Unfinished Business.”

Are we surprised? No. EliteXC doesn’t have near the brand recognition the UFC does, and without any drawing stars competing on Saturday night, you had to expect their ratings wouldn’t be that good. It’s just disappointing that that many people missed some really good live fights to watch some really good fights from two months ago.

That said, their press release reminds me of a 10 year old on XBOX Live bragging about how he just owned you. Although considering Spike’s other programming, it wouldn’t surprise me if the network’s run by 40 year old XBOX Live players who do the same.

[UPDATE 7/31/08 6:35PM]The overall ratings for Spike’s replay of UFC 84 have come in. They didn’t top EliteXC’s.

The Spike premiere of UFC 84: Penn vs. Sherk (Saturday 7/26/08, 9-1130p) delivered a 1.23 household rating, a 1.47 among Men 18-49, a .95 among Adults 18-49, a 1.54 among Men 18-34 and had an average audience of 1.6 million viewers.