It started with such promise—a heavyweight title fight on live network television. The response was even better than expected. More than eight million people watched the bout between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. One shot to Velasquez's chin, and a star was born.
Although ratings dipped somewhat for the second show in Chicago, it still delivered in a big way. Behind Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen, two of the sport's most interesting and polarizing fighters, the promotion managed to attract 4.7 million fans.
Last weekend, however, the ship hit the iceberg. Just 2.4 million fans tuned in to watch Nate Diaz and Jim Miller headline a fun night of fights. That's barely more than the UFC drew for live events on Spike television, despite being available, for free, to almost anyone with a television.
But the UFC isn't sunk—yet. Despite, falling to sixth place in its time slot, hope remains that MMA is still a mainstream sport. This is fixable. Here's how.