UFC sets ESPN 2 viewing record with UFC 244 prelims

MMA Fighting

Interest in Saturday’s UFC 244 show and the Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz fight led the prelims to do UFC’s biggest numbers ever on ESPN 2.

The two hours from 8-10 p.m. averaged 910,000 viewers, and peaked at 1,121,000 viewers for the Corey Anderson first round knockout win over Johnny Walker. The entire second hour of the show, which also included the Shane Burgos win over Makhwan Amirkhani, topped one million viewers.

On Google, UFC 244 did more than 2.1 million searches, second to only Daylight Savings Time. It beat the searches for the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev fight, which topped 1 million as one of the biggest boxing events of the year.

It also beat all three college football games that aired Saturday on ESPN 2, as well as topped the 635,000 viewers for Top Rank Boxing on stronger ESPN.

It had head-to-head competition from college football on FOX, ABC, ESPN and FS 1, with the biggest Saturday game being Oregon over USC, drawing 3,433,000 viewers on FOX, while Southern Methodist vs. Memphis on ABC did 2,947,000 viewers.

UFC led ESPN 2 to finish second on cable in its time slot, behind only ESPN’s Ole Miss vs. Auburn game, in both Males 18-34 and 18-49.

The UFC audience was heavily male 18-49, with the 35-49 age group being the strongest, and 76.6 percent of the viewers in 18-49 were male.

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