TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 10/4: UFC Fight Night 96 ratings suffer with weak main event and little undercard support

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Ratings for this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night on FS1 were well down from last week and among the lowest of the year for a Saturday night broadcast.
The four fight main card headlined by John Lineker vs. John Dodson averaged 657,000 viewers according to TVbythenumbers.com. This is down from last week’s Cris Cyborg headlined show that averaged over a million viewers. Neither show had much in the way of secondary support with Will Brooks fighting second from the top on this show and Renan Barao on the Cyborg show.
This show fared slightly better for Lineker who averaged 609,000 viewers for his last main event outing against Michael McDonald in July.

Lineker defeated Dodson by split decision in the five round fight.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: This rating tells us a couple of things. First it confirms that Cyborg has appeal to the general MMA audience. People tuned in to see her on a show without much support after only one previous UFC fight. It also tells us that the Bantamweight Division still hasn’t connected with fans after four years in the UFC. Putting them in main event positions can help with fan perception even if ratings suffer and be considered an investment in the future, but that steep a drop week to week is not good, especially when Lineker’s previous main event a few months ago was in a similar range. Fighters like Lineker or Dodson might be better featured early in the main cards of bigger pay-per-view shows where they can look good in front of a paying audience rather than be forced to carry shows that are going to do relatively small TV audiences. The problem remains though that UFC is running in the neighborhood of 45 shows a year and they need main events for each of these shows, so sometimes you have to work with what you have.


-Josh Samman was said to have been found by police after a drug overdose, according to a statement from the Hollywood, Florida Police Department. His mother has denied rumors that heroin was found in his system.

-Russell Doane will step in on short notice to fight Mirsad Bektic this Saturday at UFC 204.

-UFC fighter Michael Graves has been pulled from his upcoming fight against Sergio Moraes on Nov. 19 after being arrested for misdemeanor battery on Saturday in Atlanta.

-Anthony Hamilton told a Las Vegas radio station that he will be fighting Francis Ngannou on the Dec. 9 UFC Fight Pass show from Albany, New York.

-Paul Daley will fight Derek Anderson at Bellator 163 on Nov. 4 from Uncasville, Connecticut.

NOW CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 10/3: Demian Maia’s manager expresses frustration with UFC matchmaking, domestic violence allegations, Bellator

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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