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No one watched the UFC on FOX 2 prelims on FUEL

Welcome to 2012. The majority of the UFC’s TV programming hours are now relegated to FUEL TV, which is located so far into TV Siberia that they have to cart away the UFC’s waste with an above-ground sewer. FUEL can be seen in only 36 million homes as opposed to Spike TV’s 100 million, so we had to expect some kind of drop in viewership after the switch. But not even the most cynical among us could have foreseen the audience going down quicker than a mob of Boston altar boys. When Fightlinker outdraws a UFC countdown special, it ain’t great, but at least that’s not an actual fight. When no one tunes in to watch live content for which the UFC and FOX are paying hard cash money, however, you know things are really bad.

UFC 142’s prelims on FX drew 880,000 viewers, which was lower than any live prelims that Spike TV showed, but not by a drastic amount. That could be chalked up to viewer confusion about the new network or fans going out and trying to get laid for once or some other such valid reason. But the two sets of FUEL prelims aired so far each drew fewer people than yesterday’s riveting episode of Cupcake Wars by a factor of 6. Only 144,000 people watched the UFC on FOX prelims on FUEL, and only 148,000 watched the FUEL prelims for UFC on FX earlier this month. This is a far steeper drop than could be explained by the network’s Matt Serra-like reach.

Even though the UFC hopes to make people switch providers just to receive its programming, this can only lead to new distribution deals for cable’s lowest-rated network so quickly. And even when new deals are inked for distribution of FUEL TV, it may only be available on some providers as part of some crappy sports tier that no one wants to pay for. In the meantime, random tuners-in will be less likely to see and stay with UFC programming, and therefore fewer new Affliction shirt-wearing, PPV-buying fans will be created. But don’t even THINK about streaming UFC on FUEL prelims – Dana White might send the FBI after you.

  • DJ ThunderElbows says:

    Putting anything on Fuel was a terrible idea.  It should be on FX with the big shows on FOX.  Anything less is asking for more and more bad ratings.

  • Elfenstein says:

    I loved it. Watched everything but the 3 main fights on facebook.. great stuff

  • GogoSplattah says:

    Pure Stupidity on the UFC’s part.

    Take the prelims off of a network with 100 mil viewers and put it on one with a third of that. Then make sure it’s not broadcast in HD. Sorry, I didn’t make it rain* at Best Buy for my bigscreen to watch fights in shi##y SD. No, Unca Dana, I’m *not* gonna switch cable providers. Suck it.

    *I’m not always such a spendthrift. When I go to strip clubs I like to throw change at the girls and make it Hail.

  • frickshun says:

    ^^I think that’s Bill Gates, the businessman talking.

    All you idiots need to realize that Fox is pretty much GIVING A CHANNEL TO ZUFFA. It will build. I’m too lazy to research but someone needs to google ratings for the 1st couple of Zuffa shows on Spike. Better yet, how were the ratings for the internet-exclusive MMA Live? It was 10x better than Inside MMA but probably got zero views.

    Zuffa will build this thing. When you throw enough money @ something & have people putting 100% effort behind it, it usually succeeds. I get the channel. I love the channel.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    yeah give it time and fuel will build a fan base larger than the frat boys and jazz band players that watch volleyball

  • Jarman says:

    Keepin it real, makin it hail. nice gogo.

  • glassjawsh says:

    dick = neg nance

    you’re only allowed to bring the BE level chicken little shit if this is still going on in 6 months

    which it wont

  • FiveBoltMain says:

    Fuel is the lowest rated cable channel. It averaged 20k viewers at any time. So the UFC doing 140k is a HUGE improvement fucktard. They’re building FUEL from the ground up. FOX pretty much gave them the channel because they couldn’t make it successful. I don’t get FUEL, but I do get FOXDEPORTES and they show all of the prelims that FUEL does. So you have to combine the FUEL and FOXDEPORTES to get the true ratings. If they’re still doing 140k by next year, then you can say that it’s not working out. We’re barely into the 2nd month of the FOX deal, so lets give it some time to pan out.

  • dick says:

    What you guys are saying is all well and good, it’s a work in progress blah blah blah, but my point is that it’s not a simple matter of viewers making a choice to watch with no outside requirements whatsoever. It’s about a bunch of guys in suits arguing over money before they even agree to make FUEL available to people. This is not a variable that the UFC has had to deal with since they got kicked off cable and relegated to DirecTV way back in the days before Zuffa bought them. Sure, they dug themselves out of it eventually, but it took years and almost sunk the whole promotion.

  • CAP says:

    I’m sure part of UFC’s negotiations angle was that they would elevate a channel like FuelTV. We’ll see if it works but it will take time. I don’t plan on paying extra for the package with Fuel.

    I’m curious to see if ppv numbers start to slump. There is now enough MMA on free tv to get your fix. We just had a free show on FOX last weekend and there is another live show Wednesday. I would think that could affect the buyrates for this weekend. Not that I’m complaining about free shows but It makes me not want to pay to watch.