We have the early “fast national” Nielsen numbers for Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 25 in New York, and as has been the theme all year for FOX cards, the ratings are unimpressive. TV by the Numbers revealed that the main card averaged just 1.64 million viewers, which is the worst rating for any UFC on FOX event in its six-year history.
The good news is that, as expected, the event tied with NBC’s “Dateline” for top spot in the coveted 18-49 demographic, with a 0.6/3 Nielsen rating/share. It should be noted that these ratings do not include West Coast affiliate numbers or anything broadcast after 10 PM ET, in which case the whole of the main event between Chris Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum took place after that time.
With the UFC’s television rights up for renewal in 2018, it’s not been a banner year for the promotion on FOX in 2017. UFC on FOX 23: Pena vs. Shevchenko in January had a final rating of just 2.189 million, the third-lowest to date, then April’s UFC on FOX 24: Johnson vs. Reis averaged just 1.996 million for the main card, although the main event peaked at 2.874 million viewers. Johnson vs. Reis aired mostly after 10 PM ET.
UFC on FOX 21: Maia vs. Condit in August 2016 has the worst rating of any FOX event, with a final number of 1.983 million viewers, but that was a card marred by several FOX affiliates opting to broadcast NFL preseason games.
Saturday night’s event certainly wasn’t filled with name value, with Weidman obviously carrying the event through his local ties to that section of Long Island. Contrast that to last summer’s UFC on FOX 20 card, which averaged just under 3 million viewers and peaked at 4.7 million for Valentina Shevchenko’s win over Holly Holm, who’d just featured in major title fights against Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. UFC on FOX 16: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2 in July 2015 averaged 2.29 million in early ratings and 2.8 million overall.
We should know the final rating for UFC on FOX 25 by Tuesday, but it’d take something extraordinary for it to produce a figure that isn’t in the bottom-five all-time.