Like we said last week, you had a lot of options if you wanted to watch a good fight last weekend.
The UFC offered two fight nights featuring some big names of mixed martial arts: Michael Bisping, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Luke Rockhold, and Ovince St. Preux.
Boxing counter-punched with a light heavyweight title unification bout, featuring the seemingly ageless Bernard Hopkins squaring off against the undefeated upstart Sergey Kovalev in New Jersey.
Finally, GLORY made its return to action with GLORY 18, giving kickboxing fans a lightweight title bout and a light heavyweight tournament.
Fight fans, of course, will argue to no end about which fans enjoyed the best event. But there’s no question which bout was the most-watched on US TV.
Score one for the Marquis of Queensbury.
Hopkins vs. Kovalev drew an average of 1.328 million HBO viewers per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, with a peak of 1.397 million — the second-highest total for HBO Boxing this year. The lead-in bout drew 882,000.
These numbers are particularly impressive, as Iole reports, when you consider the bout began at nearly midnight Eastern Time.
UFC Fight Night 56 drew an average viewership of 699,000 viewers to FOX Sports 1 according to Nielsen sources at MMA Payout. The other UFC Fight Night was only available on the UFC’s subscription service.
GLORY 18 averaged 352,000 viewers for SPIKE TV, and enjoyed a peak of 648,000, per LiverKick.com.
Liverkick’s Dave Walsh reports that while the numbers are low, GLORY CEO Jon J Franklin remains optimistic: “We are not just building a brand; we are building a sport in the US and we now will be doing a better job of showcasing our product with regular events to build a fan base not just for GLORY, but for US kickboxing in general. It was a great night of fights and anyone who watched it will be back for our next SPIKE event on December 19th.”