While news of the UFC's move to greener pastures beckons over the horizon, the official figures for Sunday's ‘UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle' promotion have been released. The show averaged 766,000 viewers, ranking in as the third most-watched event in ‘On Versus' series history.
The numbers stand as a minor improvement over the network's previous promotion, ‘UFC on Versus 4: Kongo vs. Barry,' which drew 744,000 viewers despite the release of intended headliner Nate Marquardt from the organization a day before the event. Still, the paltry improvement of the show's ratings stands as a stark reminder of the UFC's current broadcasting struggles.
The organization's two-year foray on Versus is likely coming to a close, and at this point it would be difficult to consider it a success. Even at the series' peak -- the first iteration that garnered 1,240,000 viewers with a main event of Brandon Vera vs. Jon Jones -- the ratings for ‘UFC on Versus' always wilted in comparison to events televised nationally on Spike TV, which commonly average in the 1.5 million to 2 million viewers range.
A complete listing of ratings for ‘UFC On Versus,' compiled by MMAJunkie.com:
"UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones" (March 2010): 1,240,000 viewers
"UFC on Versus 2: Jones vs. Matyushenko" (August 2010): 991,000
"UFC on Versus 5: Lytle vs. Hardy" (August 2011): 766,000
"UFC on Versus 4: Kongo vs. Barry" (June 2011): 744,000
"UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann" (March 2011): 681,000