Though the match up was met with heavy criticism within the MMA community, Kimbo Slice versus Ken Shamrock proved to be a winner for Bellator MMA and Spike TV. Bellator 138, which was held this past Friday, averaged just under 1.6 millions viewers but peaked at 2.1 million for the night’s main event.
The over two million that tuned in bested the previous record for 1.8 million viewers that saw former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz take on Stephan Bonnar back in November. Bellator president Scott Coker has been met with criticism due to his style of matchmaking since taking over but the numbers do not lie. Coker has been able to find match ups that cable audiences want to see. Kimbo Slice versus Ken Shamrock was the highest rated cable MMA fight since Conor McGregor took on Dennis Siver back in January on Fox Sports 1.
To further add to Bellator’s and Spike TV’s excitement about the event success is that the strong numbers were pulled on a Friday night which has traditionally been a weak night for sports programing. The only other major event going on at the time was the U.S. Open Golf Tournament which was being covered by Fox Sports.
Coker took over Bellator in June of 2014 and with two very impressive ratings now under his belt, Coker may have earned the trust of Viacom, who owns Bellator MMA, to go a head and continue to bring new changes and even crazier fights to Spike TV.