It’s safe to say this past weekend was a bit overshadowed by the upcoming Mayweather vs. Pacquaio event (only a few days away, now!). Still, there were a pair of shows of note for fight fans, and they offered a unique contrast in style: with HBO featuring a heavyweight boxing title match featuring Wladimir Klitschko, and the UFC putting a flyweight MMA title match on pay-per view.
Ratings released today didn’t, of course, include the PPV numbers. But we do have numbers for the UFC’s preliminary bouts — and they’re… so-so.
An aveage of 710,000 viewers tuned in FOX Sports 1 to watch the UFC 186 preliminary bouts, representing the lowest result of 2015. Jason Cruz of MMA Payout notes that the show was in competition with both the NBA and NHL playoffs and the PPV, headlined by 125 lb. titlist Demetrious Johnson defending against Kyoji Horiguchi, was not among the year’s more highly anticipated events.
The preliminary broadcast was capped off by a fight between Patrick Cote and Joe Riggs (above). Viewership peaked for their match, which was watched by 846,000.
Wladimir Kitschko’s heavyweight title defense against Bryant Jennings drew 1.63 million viewers. According to Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook, the show drew not only HBO boxing’s best ratings of the year — but their best since 2012.
The broadcast, which included an undercard featuring Sadam Ali vs. Francisco Santana, averaged 1.3 million viewers.
HBO Boxing appears to be gaining momentum, despite increased competition from Al Haymon’s Premier Championship Boxing series. The prior weekend’s broadcast of Lucas Matthysse vs Ruslan Provodnikov drew 1.24 million viewers.