Holly Holm is a former UFC bantamweight champion but most sports fans know her as the woman who beat Ronda Rousey. Holm lost her first title defense to Miesha Tate and her loss to Valentina Shevchenko has her looking at a losing streak. However, Holm drove the UFC on FOX to the highest ratings in company history.
According to MMA Fighting, the last three rounds of Holm’s fight against Shevchenko drew 4.687 million viewers. That number is good for the fifth-best UFC on FOX event but is the highest rated UFC on FOX rating during the summer months.
According to MMA Fighting:
Overall, the show did a 1.8 rating and 2,975,000 viewers, making it the most-watched UFC event on television since the Jan. 24, 2015, show from Sweden which was headlined by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson beating Alexander Gustafsson. That show did a similar 1.8 rating and 3,049,000 viewers. It was the most-watched UFC fight and event ever held during the summer since UFC went on FOX in late 2011.
It was also the second most-watched show of the night, barely, as an NBC movie did 2,976,000 viewers. But it won handily in the key demos, doing an 0.8 in 18-34, double that of any show on the competing networks. It also did a 1.1 in 18-34, with nothing else on television that night on the networks or cable topping an 0.7.
Even after losing the title to Miesha Tate, Holly Holm still had an immense amount of star power. How much star power she has after her second consecutive lost has yet to be determined.
What is also impressive is that a main event featuring women rated so highly compared to other UFC on FOX programs. The success of women drawing eyes to UFC events relative to men far outpaces that of the WNBA and NBA. Women also continue to be the best entry point the UFC has into mainstream TV shows, so putting women’s fights on FOX is most likely a best practice moving forward.
At the UFC the biggest question has to be where does Holm go from here. She didn’t look particularly great in the loss and seemed timid at times. Shevchenko was much more assertive, landed bigger shots, and landed nearly double the amount of Holm’s shots. After the fight Holm said that she should have been more confident in herself. This is another example of why I think sports psychology is the final frontier to the development of top athletes.