MMAWeekly has made a post documenting the top 20 MOST watched fights in the U.S. history. I must make this clear, as this pertains ONLY to the U.S., and not Japan or any other foreign markets. Also, the article does a good job of communicating how they came up with those ratings. Many of you read a post I made the other day with Dana White going on one of his classic rants. In the interview he said that they haven't signed a deal with network television because the deal wasn't right. Dana also went on record saying that the UFC didn't need to be on network television ala CBS, ABC, or NBC. He said that Spike TV was the home of the UFC and they were happy with that relationship.
So I'm looking at this piece that MMAWeekly put up and I was kind of surprised actually. Keep in mind that CBS is broadcasted in about 20-30 million more homes than Spike TV. However, the most watched fight ever is:
1. EliteXC on CBS (5/31/2008): Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson--- 7.281 million viewers (Aired from 11:27 PM to 11:40 PM)
The second most watched fight is:
2. UFC on Spike TV (10/10/2006): Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock--- 6.524 million viewers (Aired from 9:42 PM to 9:45 PM)
That's a very small difference considering the hype and anticipation of EliteXC's debut on CBS, and the mis-match of Ortiz vs. Shamrock 3. I know you have to take into account of the great year that the UFC enjoyed in 2006. You also have to take into account that the entire Ortiz/Shamrock fight lasted 3 minutes, whereas the entire Slice vs. Thompson fight lasted almost 15 minutes. What numbers would Ortiz vs. Shamrock have pulled if it had lasted that long? The UFC holds 11 of the 20 spots on the list with the lowest rating being a 3.847 million viewers for the Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy fight.
So just looking at these numbers do you agree with White's assessment?