UFC Fight Night 62 was not just an oddity inside the Octagon.
The card posted extremely high numbers for its four fight preliminary card on Fox Sports 2 but also provided a dismal number for its main card broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
The preliminary card averaged 280,000 viewers during its broadcast which was good enough to become the third best UFC broadcast on Fox Sports 2 or its predecessor Fuel TV. On the flip side, the main card broadcast on Fox Sports 1 averaged a lowly 617,000 viewers and peaked with just 767,000 viewers during the first rounds of the Demian Maia-Ryan LaFlare main event.
This is a rare occurrence as preliminary card numbers are usually a reliable indicator to how well the main card broadcast will perform. In this case, however, the preliminary card had very little correlation with the main card’s final numbers. This may have been the result directly proceeding Fox Sports 1’s live NASCAR broadcast as viewers of that program may have been directed to Fox Sports 2 at the conclusion of the race.
In terms of why the main card performed so poorly, there are two reasons that seem to be the most prevalent.
The first is that the UFC faced significant uphill battle as it was in direct competition with NCAA’s March Madness tournament. The college basketball playoff is one of the most popular sporting events in North America and features upwards of four games being broadcast at the same time. With such a segmented audience, the UFC only had the scraps to pick from as most casual sports fans would choose a night of playoff basketball over dedicating time to an average fight card.
Second, the card severely lacked star-power. Demian Maia and Ryan LaFlare were probably two of the least known headliners in recent memory. Maia fought Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title in 2010, but has been unable to capture a true following since that bout. His opponent, LaFlare, was undefeated heading into the bout but had only been featured on preliminary cards and the UFC’s digital streaming service “Fight Pass.” The bout was also void of any high stakes as neither fighter is approaching a title shot any time soon. With a lack of well-known, relevant fighters it is easy to see why most sport fans would choose high-stakes playoff basketball.
UFC Fight Night 62 brings an end to a strong string of TV ratings for the promotion. It will look to rebound on April 4 with UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas.