Though Fox officials have been more cautious in making estimates, UFC president Dana White is expecting very big things from their seven-year broadcasting deal with Fox.
Following the UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson fight card last night, White told MMAWeekly that he expects The Ultimate Fighter to more than double in ratings after switching from SpikeTV, it’s current and longtime home, to FX next year.
“Now that we’ve got this new platform, going on big Fox and FX, the amount of viewers that are going to watch, I mean this season of The Ultimate Fighter with no promotion whatsoever is pulling between 1.5 and 1.8 million viewers,” White said. “We’ll more than double that when we go onto FX. I mean, we’ll probably have more than 3 million viewers on FX watching The Ultimate Fighter.”
The UFC’s deal with Fox doesn’t officially start until January, but they kicked it off this month with UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, an hour-long broadcast which featured a heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Though the event was met with some mainstream criticism due to the fight’s brevity, it did well in numbers, far surpassing the previous record set for a live MMA event on network television by pulling in a peak audience of 8.8 million.
If those numbers are any indication, White’s expectations for The Ultimate Fighter on FX may very well prove accurate.