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UFC on FOX Ratings and Ad Revenue Increase: Can We Stop Whining Now?

Jan 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Demetrious Johnson (black shorts) fights John Dodson (white shorts) during UFC on FOX 6 for the world flyweight championship at the United Center.  Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dale De SouzaAnalyst IFebruary 6, 2013

All right, we get it. People maintain concerns about the UFC on Fox, likely now known as "Fox UFC Saturday." We expected this, or at least we needed to expect it.

The program dominated the board in all-time ratings for any MMA event on network TV. Despite this, people still found something to pick at for just about every card.

UFC on Fox 1's headliner lasted a little less than a minute, UFC on Fox 2's overall main card produced less-than-stellar performances and UFC on Fox 3 didn't attract the attention many thought it would with Jim Miller and Nate Diaz as the marquee attraction.

UFC on Fox 4 turned in solid action, but injuries plagued the card, and many found Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a dramatic mismatch against Brandon Vera, though Vera proved those people wrong by not going out until the fourth round.

This leads us to UFC on Fox 5 and 6. Both cards turned in electric nights of fights and featured headliners from divisions that supposedly could not even draw a simple smiley face, and both cards' ratings actually reflected the night of fights featured live on Fox.

So can we stop complaining about the ratings yet?

Truthfully, UFC on Fox 5 marked the point at which we needed to, simply put, shut the (expletive) up about the ratings because of the caliber of fighters on the cards and the promotion that went into attracting fans' interest toward the events.

It paid off for both, as they peaked in the neighborhood of five million viewers. However, the most outstanding statement regarding the peaks in viewership and the final ratings comes in the area in which both peaked.

With every UFC on Fox 5 commercial mentioning Benson Henderson's UFC lightweight championship title defense against Diaz, upward of 5.7 million fans tuned in to watch Henderson claim a unanimous-decision victory over Diaz.

As the 155-pound lightweight class holds esteem as the most talent-rich division in the sport, let alone the UFC, nobody found it surprising that Henderson-Diaz closed the card in the fashion most PPV headliners promise.

Fast forward to almost three weeks ago, when UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson survived two malicious shots from John Dodson and retained his belt in the headliner of UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago. Leading up to the fight, however, the spotlight shone on the swan song of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Very few expected fans to tune in more for Johnson's fight with Dodson than any other fight on the card. Even fewer expected a decent fight, given Johnson's style and the question of whether Dodson possessed the speed to match Johnson..

And 5.2 million viewers tuned in to watch Johnson get rocked and then come back to retain his belt. On top of that, 50,000 pieces of green went home with both men as a reward for putting on the best fight of the night.

What happens next? We wait for a potential "Fight of The Year" front-runner in Henderson's UFC on Fox 7 headlining tilt against title challenger and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. The card, still incomplete, already looks like it will contend for the best fight card of the year once finalized.

The success of the past two cards, which arguably made Fox and UFC some money, should make it to where the upcoming Fox card gets all the promotion necessary to garner interest in it, as the caliber of the card will warrant such promotion. Naturally, the debut of Daniel Cormier and the "champion vs. champion" main event will help.

So to put all this another way, keep calm, hold your gripes on the overall ratings for these Fox cards, and let these cards continue to prove why when it comes to the development of these hidden treasures and their exposure to the modern world, few platforms prove as vital as the one they call "Big Fox."

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