Spike TV’s Sept. 8 telecast of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 75 fight card pinned down the biggest television audience ever for a mixed martial arts event.
The event, which featured UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, drew 4.7 million viewers -- the most watched UFC event ever in North America, according to Spike. The fight card drew more Men 18-34 (1,622,000) and Men 18-49 (2,503,000) than any other broadcast or cable show that day which included several afternoon and prime-time college football games.
The event was also Spike’s most watched, non-World Wrestling Entertainment show in Spike’s history.
“The ratings are further proof that the tide in American sports is changing,” said Kevin Kay, General Manager Spike TV in a statement. “Young men, who constitute the Spike TV core audience, prefer the incredible action and athleticism of the UFC to more traditional sports.”
The performance should bode well for ongoing talks between Spike and the UFC with regards to a new carriage agreement. Spike is hoping to extend its deal with the UFC – which includes the popular Ultimate Fighter reality series – before it expires sometime next year.
A network spokesman would only say that the two parties are “still in the negotiations phase.”