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The five most watched MMA fights in history? Nope.

Although I’m just as much of a sucker for a nice list as anyone else, I’ve got a little bit of issue with the numbers thrown out by the MMA Payout guys re : the most watched MMA fights in history.

1 Kimbo Slice v. James Thompson – 6.51 million
2 Quinton Jackson v. Dan Henderson – 5.93 million
3 Tito Ortiz v. Ken Shamrock III – 5.89 million
4 Robbie Lawler v. Scott Smith – 5.53 million
5 Gina Carano v. Kaitlin Young – 4.68 million

The first problem is that this list doesn’t take Asia into account. Now I know most of you think they’re all too busy bowing, taking pictures, and being perverts, but Asia is kinda huge and they loves them their mixed martial arts. While I’m still waiting for Zach Arnold and Jordan Breen to email me back with confirmation, I think it’s safe to say that most of the fights above wouldn’t even be in the top 10 if you include how many people watch fights in Japan and Korea on New Years Eve.

Next up, try to remember that watching MMA is a social activity. You’re not going to find many people ponying up $50 on their own to watch the show in their basement. One PPV sale does not equal 1 person watching. I’d be interested in knowing how big the average group is watching MMA … I’d assume it’s probably somewhere between 4-6 people. And that doesn’t take into account the huge number of people watching out at bars and the like. This probably skews the data some more.

Last but not least, we live in a pirate age. My bet is that a good 30% of potential customers out there regularly STEAL events via black boxes, satellite hacks, and of course torrents. Let’s also not forget that Youtube plays a huge role in visibility. It wouldn’t surprise me if that minor league double knockout from a few weeks back actually beats most of the fights on the above list.

Anyways, I know I’m nitpicking to a certain degree and the list was mainly to show how fights ranked in terms of American TV viewership. But I wanted to put this disclaimer out there before people started acting the fool by using these stats to try and justify dumbass opinions.

  • Omomatta

    6-12 at my place for pretty much every fight.

  • No YAMMA No Life

    I agree with FL.

    Actually I think Akebono vs Bob Sapp is the biggest fight ever with pulling ratings near of 50%. Which means near of half of Japan tuned in to watch. Try to beat that…

  • clint notestine

    ive never paid for a ppv and have seen every UFC, so pirating is rampant.

  • jd

    Not to mention, all those fights were free on TV, so no need for 6-12 people to go to a buddys house to watch a PPV.

  • defranger

    Me and my cheap ass friends usually have about 15-20 and our lame ass girlfriends that just sit there and don’t really watch it. So we add them and say about 30.

  • godzillad

    Yup, we put the projector outside onto someone’s garage like in Problem Child and have neighborhood BBQs for the big shows.

  • fightfan

    It is easy to barely beat out a cable channels program… There are probably 2 or 3 times the number without cable then with it.

    So if CBS pulled 20 million viewers, then it would be equal to Spike. Then again many of those just tuned in for the freakshow, number probably will be a little lower next time.

    I would of really liked to see what the number would of been if the UFC was the first on FREE tv

  • godzillad

    What is funny though, Kimbo barely beat out Rampage.

    Kimbo was on network TV, Rampage was on cable.

    Network TV has a ridiculous amount of possible viewers, way more than cable, and they almost matched.

    If Dana went to FOX with these numbers they would get a deal done immediately.

  • DonnyG

    We usually get around 20-30 people watching UFC pay per views if they are good. If the UFC put one of its good PPVs say like the lat one on network TV the ratings would be massive. Look, crappy Ortiz Shamrock 3 made that list and it was on Spike.


    FL, FYI Nielsen ratings factor in groups of people. I forget where I read or heard this, but the monitored test audiences are suppose to tell the monitor box how much people are watching. I could be wrong, but that’s what I recalll.

  • iamphoenix

    there’s usually about 4 of us wathcing ppv

  • fightlinker

    Yeah, but PPVs are measured in buys, not eyes. Ooh, that rhymes! I fucking rock.

  • Euthyphro

    The UFC estimates 6 viewers per each of their PPV buys, according to their own released figures. I don’t have anything to link to as I’m not at my own computer, but some googling should turn that up from old articles and such.

  • fightgeek

    Akebono vs. Sapp= 54 million viewers!

  • crs

    And now the last person on earth can stop believing Bonnar-Griffin I actually had 10 million viewers….

  • Pontus

    The numbers seem wrong, I saw the list posted with the top ten most watched fights and the fight that went on before Jackson – Henderson wasn’t even on the list meaning it had fewer then 3.4 million.

    It seems highly unlikely that the rampage fight did 5.9 million and no other fight on that card even did 3.4… Same thing with the Tito – Shamrock card.

    My theory is that they just took the numbers for the main event on the UFC cards and not all the fights like they did on the Elitexc card.

  • randall

    The ufc is a shit-hole. But let’s get back to fightlinker trashing all non-zuffa mma. Every day, he does it. Every day he tries to undermine all non-zuffa athletes. He owes us all an explanation.

    This guy even goes so far as to make light of the Russian Mob kidnapping Fedor. Personally, I’m requesting an explanation from him. He can even post on his website what it is that he thinks is funny about that. Does he think Fedor will find it funny?