This weekend was a rarity in the fight game. But as we all know, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Two major events were held in the combative sports world this past weekend — and neither were held on the traditional time slot of Saturday night.
Saturday afternoon, middleweight boxing champion Gennady Golovkin fought Martin Murray in Monte Carlo. Golovkin, of Kazakhstan, ran his record to 32-0 with a knockout victory over the Englishman Murray.
UFC Fight Night 61 was held on Sunday evening in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The show featured a heavyweight main event of Brazil’s Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (above, left) against American Frank Mir (above, right). That bout that ended, like so many that night, in an upset — as Mir scored a first round knockout over the favored Silva.
According to numbers from our friends at MMAPayout.com, Saturday night wasn’t “all right to fight” — and viewers tuned in.
The Golovkin vs. Murray telecast on HBO was watched by an average of 862,000 viewers — peaking at 938,000. That evening, the replay attracted 517,000 viewers (per Dan Rafael of ESPN) for a total of 1.4 million.
Was afternoon show. Blew away @HBOboxing '14 afternoon cards (Froch-Groves 2 700k, Klit-Pulev 620k). Combined w/ night replay avergd 1.433M.
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) February 24, 2015
The UFC Fight Night enjoyed an average of 1.2 million viewers on FOX Sports 1. The preliminary bouts, also broadcast on FOX Sports 1, averaged 813,000 viewers.
The numbers for both are impressive, and better than anticipated. The Sunday start time may be a good fit for the UFC (outside of American football season).
In a MMA Payout report, Jason Cruz describes the boxing numbers as “impressive” — noting that this reflects an overall upward turn in the sport’s popularity (stateside).