Categories: MMA NewsTV Ratings

UFC on FOX Sinks to Ratings Low, But Johnson-Moraga Card Wins Night

Ratings for Saturday’s UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga special epitomize the battle between glass half-full and glass half-empty.

On the one hand, the fight card dominated all broadcast competition in adults 18-49. On the other hand, it delivered the lowest ratings for a UFC on FOX special to date.

The show, headlined by a Flyweight Championship match between Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga and a welterweight bout between Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger, posted a mere 0.9 adults 18-49 rating with 2.04 million viewers, according to fast national ratings data.

Because the fast nationals do not take into account the live west coast broadcast and only measure from 8-10PM (this show went slightly past the 10:15 mark), the data is subject to slight (very likely upward) revision in the finals. But on an apples-to-apples basis, this does represent the weakest UFC on FOX performance to date.

UFC on FOX 3: Diaz vs. Miller previously held the adults 18-49 low mark with a 1.0 rating, while UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera set the viewership low of 2.14 million.

Given the low-profile nature of the flyweight division, few had reason to believe Johnson-Moraga would perform well as a main-event. And though Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger are well-known to diehard fight fans, they similarly would not represent significant mainstream draws.

There was, however, reason for optimism. The show faced virtually no competition Saturday, and it did so on the heels of Chris Weidman’s water cooler victory over Anderson Silva. If there were ever a time for casual sports fans to check out a UFC show, this would have represented the weekend.

Additionally, January’s UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson drew a very strong rating (double this broadcast’s adults 18-49 number), which theoretically meant that Johnson was exposed as both a champion and star to a large audience.

Ultimately, however, it appears that show was propped up by heavy promotion during football season and a stronger undercard that featured Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Without those factors, Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson is evidently not going to put asses in the seats for the duration of a broadcast.

His fight, which began in the final half-hour, did nonetheless attract the show’s peak audience. The half-hour ratings breakdown was as follows:

8PM – 0.7 rating, 1.67M viewers
8:30PM – 0.8 rating, 1.77M viewers
9PM: – 0.9 rating, 2.29M viewers
9:30PM – 1.0 rating, 2.42M viewers

Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002. Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj. Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]

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Brian Cantor