Spike TV: UFC 89 Draws 2.6 Million Viewers

By Sherdog.com Staff Oct 22, 2008
Anchored by a middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Chris Leben, UFC 89 on Saturday drew an average of 2.6 million viewers, according to Spike TV representatives. The telecast -- which aired on tape delay from the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England -- peaked with 3.4 million viewers during the 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. quarter hour.

Despite stiff competition from Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on TBS and regional college football coverage on ESPN and ESPN2, the UFC 89 telecast ranked second with 18- to 49-year-old males, 18- to 34-year-old males and 25- to 34-year-old males among ad-supported cable for its time period.

Bisping (17-1) defeated Leben by unanimous decision in a competitive main event, as the UFC made its final stop in the UK this year. The popular 29-year-old Brit extended his winning streak to three fights and continued his rapid ascent up the 185-pound ladder. Scheduled to coach on the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, Bisping will face the winner of the UFC 93 match pairing Rich Franklin with Dan Henderson sometime in 2009.

In the co-main event at UFC 89, light heavyweight contender Keith Jardine eked out a split decision win over the suddenly enigmatic Brandon Vera. The event also featured a memorable welterweight slugfest between Chris Lytle and Paul Taylor, which earned both men a $40,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus; Lytle won by unanimous decision.

Despite its success, UFC 89 fell short of the mark set by UFC 75 “Champion vs. Champion,” which also aired on tape delay on Spike TV in September 2007. That event, which showcased a light heavyweight championship bout between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Henderson, drew 4.7 million viewers, making it, at the time, the most-watched mixed martial arts event in North American history.
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