UFC Fight Night Debuts on ESPN as Highest Rated on Cable since January 2016

Combat SportsMMAUFC

UFC Fight Night Debuts on ESPN as Highest Rated on Cable since January 2016

Last night, UFC Fight Night on ESPN debuted as heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou (13-3) knocked out former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (14-3) in his highly anticipated return to the Octagon in the main event at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.

The ESPN telecast of the main card from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET averaged a 1.1 metered market rating, while the UFC Fight Night on ESPN Prelims on ESPN from 7 – 9 p.m. averaged a 0.7 rating.  The full five-hour window on ESPN averaged a 0.9 rating. Through three linear television events, ESPN has now aired the three highest-rated UFC telecasts on cable since the start of 2017.

Main Things to Know 

  • Last night’s UFC Fight Night on ESPN featuring Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velaszquez aired from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. and averaged a 1 metered market rating.
  • The Prelims from 7-9 p.m. averaged a 7 rating and the full five-hour window on ESPN averaged a 0.9 rating.
  • Based on overnight ratings, last night’s main card (9 p.m. – 12 a.m.) ranks as the highest-rated UFC Fight Night on cable since the Dillashaw-Cruz headlined event on January 17, 2016. Last night’s Prelims (7-9 p.m.) rank as the second highest-rated UFC Fight Night Prelims on cable since that same 1/17/16 date, behind only ESPN’s premiere telecast on January 19 of this year.
  • Through three linear events, ESPN has now aired the three highest-rated UFC telecasts on cable since the start of 2017.
  • Last night’s telecast was up 83% from the comparable Fight Night (Cerrone/Medeiros) that aired on February 18, 2018 (0.6 rating). The Fight Night Prelims were up 40% and the five-hour window was up 50%.

The Octagon now travels to the O2 Arena in Prague for UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ in the first-ever UFC event in the Czech Republic. In the main event, top light heavyweights Jan Blachowicz and Thiago “Marreta” Santos battle it out while heavyweights Stefan Struve and Marcos Rogerio de Lima face off in the co-main event. The main card will be live and available exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. in both English and Spanish starting at 2:00 p.m. Prelims will be live and available on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

Fans can join the @ESPNMMA conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

To subscribe to ESPN+, visit www.espnplus.com

Access more UFC on ESPN+ and ESPN releases.


About UFC®
UFC® is a premium global sports brand and the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world. UFC boasts more than 284 million fans worldwide and has produced over 450 events in 25 countries since its inception in 1993. Acquired in 2016 by global sports, entertainment and fashion leader Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG), together with strategic partners Silver Lake Partners and KKR, UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas with a network of employees around the world. UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe, while programming is broadcast in over 160 countries and territories to 1.1 billion TV households worldwide in 40 different languages. UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the world. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram: @UFC.

About ESPN+
ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHLgames, exclusive UFC and Top Rank boxing events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com. They are the industry-leading all-in-one digital sports platform, delivering a rich, personalized experience to tens of millions of fans every month.

About ESP
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN International, ESPN The Magazine and more.  ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.


Press Contacts 


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Disney DTCI

Paul Melvin / [email protected] / 860-766-5069

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Grace Coryell

Based out of the LAPC in Los Angeles, Calif., Grace Coryell is manager of communications focusing on X Games and West Coast PR. A native Angelino, Coryell attended the University of Southern California and began working at ESPN in 2008.
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