Last Saturday night turned out to be a huge hit for the entire combat sports world.
As previously reported, Triller’s pay-per-view boxing event between Jake Paul and Ben Askren was a resounding success, estimated to sell over a million purchases. In terms of cable television, combat sports also attracted a large number of viewers, with the UFC Vegas 24 event averaging 953,000 viewers, making it the third-highest rated show on cable television on Saturday (according to MMA Fighting).
The main event of the card featured former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker taking on Kelvin Gastelum. Originally intended to take place two years ago on PPV, viewers took advantage of being offered the fight for free on ESPN. The fight did not disappoint as the main contestants won Fight of the Night honors and Whittaker finally raised his hand in victory.
The preliminaries also had very strong numbers, averaging 879,000 viewers. Overall, the UFC Vegas 24 undercard was the highest-rated UFC show on ESPN in 2021 thus far, so the large audience for the Jake Paul / Ben Askren pay-per-view did nothing to significantly hurt the event numbers. . The success of both events is also a testament to the multitasking ability of the fans, many of whom undoubtedly juggled both events simultaneously.
The UFC’s partnership with ESPN continues to be a great success for both parties. This weekend, the UFC will produce a successful pay-per-view with three title fights at UFC 261, including the main event with UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Both ESPN and the UFC will hope to follow up on these strong network numbers in the UFC 261 preliminaries and perhaps match or even eclipse the Jake Paul / Ben Askren purchases with the main pay-per-view card.
You can see the full results of UFC Vegas 24 here.
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