The meteoric rise of the UFC hit a pocket of turbulence Tuesday with the release of the ratings for Saturday’s UFC on Fox 3 card.
The May 5 telecast averaged 2.42 million viewers (for a household rating of 1.5), down from 5.7 million for UFC on Fox 1 and 4.7 million for UFC on Fox 2.
By comparison, the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, which aired earlier in the day, outdrew it with a 2.0 rating. (And that’s not the highest series of racing in NASCAR). The Kentucky Derby drew a 9.0 overnight rating from 6 and 7 p.m. ET on NBC. It was narrowly beaten by the NHL Eastern Conference semifinal between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals between 12:15 and 3:15 p.m, which posted a household rating of 1.6.
UFC on Fox 3 did earn a rating of 1.6 among 18-to-34-year-old men, its primary demographic, but that’s also down from the promotion’s first (4.3) and second (3.2) network-televised cards since it signed a seven-year multi-media rights agreement with Fox in August.
The main card of Saturday’s event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., saw lightweight contender Nate Diaz submit Jim Miller. Johny Hendricks, Alan Belcher and Lavar Johnson also prevailed in nationally televised bouts.
UFC on Fox 3 faced competition from both an NBA playoff doubleheader on TNT and the undercard of the super welterweight championship fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto on HBO Pay-Per-View.
UFC on Fox 4 is scheduled for August 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET, Fox), with Hector Lombard-Brian Stann and Ryan Bader-Lyoto Machida among the headlining bouts.
-- Bryan Armen Graham