Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

UFC on Fox draws 5.7 million, Bob Arum says MMA got ‘buried’

Even with the quick knockout at UFC on Fox 1, the event pulled in a very big audience for the promotion's debut on network television.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the show beat college football and produced an audience of near six million.

[...] preliminary ratings announced by Fox show the Ultimate Fighting Championship card on the network Saturday night was watched by 5.7 million people. A release issued by the network indicated the broadcast, the first for the UFC on network television, pulled a 4.3 rating in the 18-to-34 male demographic, better than any Saturday night college football game this season except the Alabama-Louisiana State game on Nov. 5.

Amongst local affiliates, no surprise here, Las Vegas did the biggest numbers:

KVVU-Fox 5 drew the highest rating of all Fox affiliates, according to the station.

It was a big night for fighting in general. The UFC's network TV debut was more than solid, while boxing's Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight was deemed a big success as well.

During the prefight, UFC president Dana White worked to shatter the image that the sports were in competition. Following the fight, boxing promoter Bob Arum was still in combative mode.

"They thought they would hurt us. Instead they got hurt because they got buried. But I think the fact they're just on for an hour helps us," Arum told the N.Y. Post.

Arum said boxing's momentum isn't about just one fight. His next big tilt comes in three weeks with the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch in New York on Dec. 3.

"We had so many companies soliciting us wanting to be sponsors not just for a fight, but a series of fights," Arum said. "We've had to greatly increase our staff and personnel. Our [Las Vegas] offices are now too small, and we're in the process of buying our own building, so we can expand and handle the people we have."

Can boxing and MMA both benefit from the attention it got this weekend or can only one prosper?

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