This past weekend’s Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event turned out to be a massive success for both the MMA organization and their partner in crime, Showtime. The event was the highest rated Strikeforce event to date, with the average home viewing audience at 741,000 viewers. The show peaked during the main event, which saw Fedor Emelianenko suffer his third loss in MMA and second loss in a row to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and drew roughly 1.1 million viewers.
Strikeforce’s previous record was when Cris “Cyborg” Santos pounded Gina Carano into temporary unofficial retirement, for the Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Championship. The average viewing audience for that event was 576,000 with a peak of 853,000. Oddly enough, Gina did appear on last weekend’s event to announce her return to the sport, so combined with the continuation of the tournament which should only gain more ratings as Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem take on their opponents at the next show.
The tournament format has been a proven ratings boost, with Bellator being the obvious comparison. Holding a grand prix allows new viewers to follow the story of the fighters and is like a jumping on point. They don’t need to know much about the fighters in it when they first tune in, but by the end of the tournament (three shows later), they have become hooked to the combatants and the brand. It also gives hardcore fans many a chance to speculate and follow the progress of the tournament deeply. Let’s face it – if you don’t like tournaments, you are simply not an MMA fan.
The next round of the tournament is set for April 9 at a location to be determined, with a strong possibility that it might be somewhere in Japan.