The early UFC on FOX television ratings show a troubling trend, declining precipitously in each of the UFC's three appearances on Fox:
UFC on FOX 1: 5.675 million viewers
UFC on Fox 2: 4.661 million viewers
UFC on Fox 3: 2.418 million total viewers, last in its time slot, below Shark Tank and CSI.
UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta isn't panicking.
"Would we like to see the numbers be trending differently? Yes, of course," Fertitta said. "But we're not concerned and we don't think it's an overall reflection of our business. There are reasons for it. If you think about it, for the first [Fox] fight we had a massive amount of promotion within the NFL on Fox. And we led with our big show, the heavyweight championship, so of course, we were going to draw a much broader range of viewers.
"The fight in January in Chicago actually performed pretty well, even though it was a little below the first one. It was still super solid. This last show, I'd say it was a moderate performance. Really, what we're looking at is, 'How did we rank within the competition compared to what was going on that night?' And in hindsight, going on Cinco de Mayo may not have been the best thing to do."
"If The Avengers did over $200 million for the weekend, unfortunately for us, there were a great number of our potential viewers sitting in a movie theater somewhere. Or, they were out that night celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Listen, I'm not trying to make excuses. Hats off to HBO and Bernard Hopkins. That's a great job and a great number they pulled. But when you say, 'Are we concerned,' I'd say no. We're excited.
"We had a situation where 2.5 million people, which I would say is still a substantial number, got to see what I would say was a tremendous product. All four fights were great fights and in the main event, Nate Diaz showed he's potentially a breakout star who down the road could move the needle for us on pay-per-view. The playbook is playing out for us exactly the way we wanted it to."
"We will work on this and look at it, but we're not unhappy. We got a tremendous amount of exposure for a kid like Nate Diaz. We're going to build him the way we built Jon Jones. Two years ago, nobody knew who Jon Jones was, and now, a couple of weeks ago, we did a very good [PPV] number for his fight that I think really crossed over and where the non hard-core fans were talking about it.
"It's a learning process for all of us, but we're not at all concerned. We feel things are progressing according to plan and whatever issues we have are things that aren't insurmountable and which we can fix."
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