The UFC’s network television debut peaked with 8.8 million viewers during Saturday’s heavyweight championship fight between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. Three minutes after the bout’s conclusion, only 5.9 million viewers remained.

Sherdog.com today confirmed the viewership information with an industry source, who said that the peak occurred at 9:40 p.m. ET, coinciding with the brief heavyweight title fight. MMAJunkie.com first reported the peak viewership on Wednesday afternoon.

UFC on Fox 1 took place Nov. 12 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Though the event featured a myriad of undercard contests streamed live on Facebook, only the main event was broadcast on Fox.

Dos Santos bombed Velasquez just 64 seconds into the scheduled five-round affair, clipping the champion behind the ear with a massive overhand right. The punch spelled disaster for the American Kickboxing Academy standout, and though Velasquez gamely attempted to defend the forthcoming onslaught of ground-and-pound, “Cigano” would not be denied, pounding out his prone opponent to capture the UFC heavyweight belt.

As reported on Sunday, UFC on Fox 1 averaged 5.7 million viewers during its hour-long broadcast, making it the most-watched event in the promotion’s history, as well as the most-watched professional fight since Lennox Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko in 2003 on HBO.

Defunct promotion EliteXC previously set MMA’s all-time network TV viewership record in 2008, drawing an average of 4.3 million viewers for EliteXC “Primetime” and peaking with 6.5 million viewers during Kimbo Slice’s victory over James Thompson in the main event.

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