Spike has released average viewership numbers for the two co-main event fights on Friday’s Bellator 149 card, with the peak minute expected to be released on Tuesday. While the entire broadcast averaged just shy of two million viewers, the Kimbo Slice-Dada 5000 event itself drew an average of 2.5 million viewers between 11:16PM and 11:30PM ET, while the main event between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie averaged slightly less at 2.4 million viewers between 11:54PM-11:57PM ET.
That average for the Slice-Dada 5000 is higher than the peak number drawn for Slice’s bout with Shamrock last June, which had been Bellator’s previous high water mark. It’s also the most watched MMA event on Spike since the UFC Fight Night 24 event in March of 2011, which averaged 2.2 million viewers for an event headlined by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Phil Davis, but which peaked at 2.4 million viewers.
Penick’s Analysis: People were obviously curious for the two circus-like fights, and tuned in accordingly. However, that also means that fewer tuned in for the undercard, and also means nothing in regards to what upcoming events are going to draw. This, like Slice-Shamrock or Ortiz-Bonnar, was a one-off, and it remains in question how often they can bring in these kinds of numbers, and whether or not the laughable nature of the Slice-5000 fight is something that winds up turning some of those 2.5 million viewers away from Bellator as something worth watching. These are monster numbers for MMA in 2016 on cable, absolutely, and Bellator and Spike got exactly what they were looking for in these numbers. Good for them, there, but is it at all sustainable? Color me unconvinced.
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