UFC president Dana White was in an extraordinary mood Tuesday thanks to the ratings his fight card on Fox delivered.
The UFC on Fox 5 card from Key Arena in Seattle improved the performance of UFC on Fox 4 by 83 percent and won all key male demographics in its time slot. The show attracted an average of 4.4 million viewers, doing a 2.5 household rating and a 4 share overall.
White pointed out that the UFC show trailed the Heisman Trophy ceremony and 48 Hours Mystery in its time slot in terms of total viewers, but UFC on Fox 5 finished as the No. 3 show for the week among males 18-49. In addition, it won the night among males 18-34, males 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 18-49.
That younger demographic is what the UFC targets and is coveted by advertisers.
UFC president Dana White puts the lightweight belt on champion Benson Henderson (Getty Images)
"We just killed it," an ebullient White told Yahoo! Sports. "We killed it in every demo."
The ratings increased during every fight. Matt Brown's knockout of Mike Swick in the opener drew an average of 3.6 million viewers. That number increased to 4.3 million for Rory MacDonald's beating of B.J. Penn. Alex Gustafsson's victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua had 4.5 million viewers, while the main event received an average of 5.7 million.
Though it was third in total viewers, White said what mattered most was the 18-34-year-old male demographic, which advertisers so desperately seek.
"There are always going to be older people home watching TV on a Saturday night," White said. "But the advertisers are trying to reach that demo and we just dominated it. That was a huge night for us."
Las Vegas was the top market with a 6.3 rating and 11 share. It was followed by Louisville (5.0/8), Sacramento (4.7/9), Columbus (4.6/8) and Phoenix (4.2/8).
The card drew the second-highest average viewership of the four shows on Fox in 2012. UFC on Fox 2 in January averaged 5.7 million viewers. UFC on Fox 5 on Saturday was at 4.4 million average. UFC on Fox 3 and UFC on Fox 4 each averaged 2.4 million viewers.
The next UFC card on Fox is on Jan. 26 in Chicago beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Demetrious Johnson defends the flyweight title against John Dodson in the main event.
Rory MacDonald (L) routed B.J. Penn in a welterweight fight Saturday at UFC on Fox 5 (Getty)