UFC Fight Night 81 draws second best Fox Sports 1 viewership with 2.288 million average viewers

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 81 event was the UFC’s second-most watch event on Fox Sports 1, only trailing last January’s UFC Fight Night 59 with the same Sunday night post-NFL setup.

According to a report from SportsTVRatings.com, Sunday’s T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz headlined event averaged 2,228,000 viewers, with the preliminary card broadcast averaging 1,767,000 viewers for the two hours from 8-10PM ET.

Last year’s event, which ran 25 minutes longer and was headlined by Conor McGregor’s dominant win over Dennis Siver. It also came directly after a late afternoon NFL game on Fox, whereas Sunday’s Fox NFL broadcast came with the early game. Additionally, last year’s prelims averaged just 908,000 viewers for a longer prelims broadcast.

Penick’s Analysis: That’s a really, really good number for the UFC. It might have been an even better number if the Panthers-Seahawks game had been the late game, as they had a push for the event but it could have gotten people to switch right over after the game. Regardless, it’s a great number for the UFC, and it’s good that Dillashaw and Cruz had that many eyes on them for the fight they put on.

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