The UFC promised a stacked card to kick off their debut on a new television platform , and they sure delivered. From the two stunning stoppages to begin the night’s action, to Sonnen’s dominant submission victory over Mauricio Rua, there was no shortage of skill or violence on display. So much so, that Dana White and Co decided to hand out additional “of the night” bonuses. Both Chael Sonnen and Michael McDonald picked up $50,000 for their slick first round submission victories, and Matt Brown and Travis Browne earned the same for their devastating first round knockouts of their opponents. McDonald was able to double up on his winnings, as he and Pickett received “fight of he night” honors for their spirited affair.
The initial Nielson ratings coming in point toward a successful debut, as Fight Night 26 received 1.78 millions viewers for a 1.38 overall rating. To put this viewership in context, it generated a higher rating than the most watched card to ever air on FX. UFC and Fox executives have to consider it a success, as confusion over provider coverage earlier in the week threatened the network’s exposure. In addition to solid viewership numbers, the debut earned top ratings in the UFC’s most coveted demographics. It also experienced success at the box office, with 12,539 in live attendance, resulting in a $1.53 million live gate.
The UFC will look to build off these numbers as more individuals gain awareness of the promotion’s new home. Be sure to catch future events on Fox Sports 1, including UFC Fight Night 27 on August 28, 2013 featuring Carlos Condit v. Martin Kampmann II as the main event.