UFC’s Fox debut Saturday was not only the mixed martial arts organization’s most-watched telecast ever, but also the most-watched pro fight of any kind in the past eight years, Multichannel News reports.
The event saw challenger Junior dos Santos win the heavyweight title with a one-minute knockout of champion Cain Velasquez. Nielsen fast national figures show the broadcast with a 3.1 rating/5 share and 5.7 million total viewers, the story reports.
That was the biggest audience for a fight since June 21, 2003, when 7.0 million viewers saw Lennox Lewis score a TKO over Vitali Klitschko in a heavyweight boxing title fight televised by HBO, the report notes.
Among broadcast networks, Saturday’s event was the most-watched since 1998, when 5.9 million viewers turned out for “Oscar de la Hoya’s Fight Night,” the piece adds.
Multichannel News adds: “Santos’ victory on Saturday night marked the coming out party for UFC with Fox, which signed a seven-year, $700 million deal with the MMA circuit in August. The deal encompasses an expansive number of fights and ancillary programming on the broadcast network, FX, Fuel and Fox Deportes.”