The numbers are in, and of the six times the UFC has presented "UFC Prelims Live" on SpikeTV, the "UFC 111 Prelims Live" broadcast scored the lowest rating of the six broadcasts, coming in at a 0.9 household rating and 1.2 million viewers, according to MMA Payout.
Even though it seems troubling on the surface that the number went down, I'll tell you why you shouldn't be concerned with this rating -- and neither should the UFC -- for now, at least.
Simply put, the UFC makes its money off pay-per-view. Although the SpikeTV contracts help bring them revenue, the company's bread and butter is pay-per-view. What does this have to do with the ratings for the preliminary broadcast? Everything.
Here's why the rating for 'UFC 111 Prelims Live" was so low: Because nobody was by their television to watch SpikeTV. Although a lot of people watch at their own homes, many people head to the local watering hole to watch the fights -- including those who joined MMA4Real in Cary, N.C. If you go to the bar to watch the fights, you are going to get there early to beat the crowd, meaning you're not going to be watching SpikeTV.
And with this being a highly-anticipated pay-per-view featuring two championship fights, one of which included Georges St-Pierre's return, I'm sure people went to the bars in droves.
So that explains some of it, but WAIT, there's more.
For the first time ever, the UFC offered its pay-per-view in movie theaters across the country. With this being a novelty and the first time its happened, I'm sure more people than usual wanted to check it out to see what it's all about. And, like going to the bars, going to the theater requires missing SpikeTV.
On top of that, the lowly-bought UFC 108 and UFC 109 did 1.5 and 1.7 million viewers for the "Prelims Live" special, meaning more people likely were watching at their homes because they did not watch the pay-per-view broadcast.
So, with that being said, this theory all depends on how many buys UFC 111 does. If it does a high number, then this probably is true. If it does a low number, well, the UFC has a bigger issue than a low rating on SpikeTV.