UFC 75 was the most watched mixed martial arts event ever in North America, drawing 4.7 million viewers, Spike TV officials said in a news release Tuesday.
The Sept. 8 event from the O2 Arena in London, England, featured UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson (Pictures)'s win over PRIDE champ Dan Henderson (Pictures) in a title unification bout. Airing delayed on Spike, the telecast peaked at 5.6 million viewers during Jackson's battle against Henderson.
The show's ratings were particularly strong among men age 18-34 and men 18-49. For those audiences, UFC 75 beat everything on television, Spike officials said, including ABC's NASCAR race and Michigan vs. Oregon college football game, as well as ESPN's Virginia Tech vs. LSU and Notre Dame vs. Penn St. games.
"The ratings are further proof that the tide in American sports is changing," said Kevin Kay, Spike TV general manager. "Young men, who constitute the Spike TV core audience, prefer the incredible action and athleticism of the UFC to more traditional sports."
"Champion vs. Champion" outpaced the previous record -- Tito Ortiz (Pictures) vs. Ken Shamrock (Pictures) III, also broadcast on SpikeTV -- by half a million viewers.
Spike TV said its telecast of UFC 75 had an overall rating of 3.1 (3.0 million homes), including a 5.7 rating for men 18-34 (1.6 million), 4.5 for men 18-49 (2.5 million) and 6.2 for men 25-34 (1.0 million).
The event also had a record-breaking audience at the 02 Arena in London, UFC President Dana White said.