The heavyweight main event pairing Fedor Emelianenko with the previously unbeaten Brett Rogers at Strikeforce/M-1 Global “Fedor vs. Rogers” reached 5.46 million viewers, according to figures released on Tuesday by CBS.
Emelianenko, despite a broken nose and hand injury, stopped the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Rogers on second-round strikes on Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The bout between the stoic Russian and hulking Minnesotan drew a 3.5 rating in men, ages 25-54, 3.3 in men, ages 18-49 and 3.1 in men, ages 18-34.
The entire broadcast, which marked Strikeforce’s debut on the network and included a five-round middleweight title bout between Jake Shields and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, drew 4.04 million viewers and won its time slot among men and adults, ages 18-34. In addition, it delivered significantly higher ratings than the network’s season-to-date averages in the time period among young adult and male demographics, according to CBS representatives.
Compared to CBS’s 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. season-to-date averages, the Strikeforce show was up 38 percent in adults, ages 18-49, 125 percent in adults, 18-34, 117 percent in men, ages 25-54, 178 percent in men, ages 18-49 and 283 percent in men, ages 18-34. According to CBS, Strikeforce/M-1 Global “Fedor vs. Rogers” outdrew primetime college football coverage on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
The event marked the return of live mixed martial arts to network television for the first time since EliteXC “Heat” in October 2008, which drew an average of 4.56 million viewers. The Emelianenko-Rogers matchup fell well short of becoming the most-watched fight in North American history; that honor still belongs to the Kimbo Slice-James Thompson bout, which drew 6.51 million viewers at EliteXC “Primetime” in May 2008.