The final ratings for UFC on Fox 7 have been returned with the numbers coming in slightly higher than initial reports for the card featuring lightweight champion Benson Henderson successfully defending his title against Gilbert Melendez.
According to a report emailed to Bleacher Report from Nielsen Ratings, UFC on Fox 7 averaged 3.7 million viewers over the broadcast that kicked off at 8 p.m. ET last Saturday night. The show's initial ratings were reported as 3.31 million viewers, but information hadn't been returned from the main event, which went well past the 10 p.m. cut off time for the show.
The show peaked during the main event between Henderson and Melendez with 4.7 million viewers according to a press release from Fox sent to Bleacher Report. The UFC on Fox 7 broadcast also ranked No. 1 overall in the coveted 18-49 demographic as well.
The ratings for UFC on Fox 7 are down from both of the last two UFC cards held on Fox despite the perception of the show being a stronger line-up from top to bottom in terms of overall talent. UFC on Fox 5 last December averaged 4.4 million viewers, and that was followed up by UFC on Fox 6 in January that pulled in 4.2 million viewers.
UFC on Fox 5 also featured lightweight champion Benson Henderson as well as former title holder B.J. Penn, while UFC on Fox 6 showcased a flyweight title fight and the final Octagon appearance of former light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
While those two shows did feature established stars like Penn and Jackson, the real difference for UFC on Fox 7 is the fact that there was no promotional help from Fox's biggest sports entity—the NFL.
When the UFC has had NFL games ongoing while promoting their upcoming event, the numbers have always ended up higher than other shows. UFC on Fox 3 (held in May 2012) and UFC on Fox 4 (held in August 2012) were the two lowest rated shows for the promotion since coming to the network giant in 2011.
UFC on Fox 3 had an average of 2.4 million viewers while UFC on Fox 4 had 2.44 million viewers.
The biggest positive for UFC on Fox 7 is the fact that it pulled in 3.7 million viewers with no support from the NFL on Fox broadcasts that would routinely advertise the upcoming cards. The card pulled much higher numbers than the previous two shows without NFL support for the UFC on Fox.
The next UFC on Fox card will take place on July 27 from the Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. While a few bouts have been named for the card, no main event has been announced by the promotion as of yet.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report