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UFC relationship with Fuel TV off to a good start

Steve Cofield

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Fox is going all in with the UFC by using its cable channel Fuel TV to roll out a ton of fight-related programming. Initial results have been more than solid.

Even with cool shows like Bas Rutten's "Punk Payback," Jason Ellis' "Ellismania" and "Thrillbillies," the channel hasn't really pulled in major numbers in the past. As a result, it was more than willing to turn over a good chunk of its programming to the fight promotion. Fuel TV blew things out on New Year's Day with a 24-hour marathon and the gains were obvious.

The Jan. 1 UFC programming produced the second most-watched day in the network's history with the average viewership for the day up 378 percent over Sunday's average for 2011. Fuel TV also had its most-watched Primetime night ever, which was 493 percent higher than Sunday's average for 2011.

The programming wasn't varied. It was mostly showings of UFC 79, with new behind-the-scenes coverage, and the recent UFC DVD release "UFC: Bad Blood."

The documentary featuring the war over the years between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell produced the top results.

The top show of the 24-hour marathon was UFC: Bad Blood, a documentary covering the feud between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. It clocked in as the fourth most-watched show on Fuel TV since the network became nationally rated.

Fuel TV plans on running 2000 hours of UFC-related programming in 2012.

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