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July 30, 2014

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UFC’s counter-programming outdraws Strikeforce show (sort of)

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Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

Gina Carano, right, is punched by Cris “Cyborg” Santos, of Brazil in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship.

No doubt the biggest fight in female mixed martial arts history Saturday night was quite the successful event as Strikeforce’s bout between Gina Carano and Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos drew 13,976 fans to HP Pavilion in San Jose for an estimated live gate of $735,710.

But the show airing on Showtime played second fiddle to UFC’s counter-programming of the promotion’s historic UFC 100 event from July (well, depending on how you view the ratings).

The Spike TV replay of the UFC’s July 11th pay-per-event featuring a heavyweight title bout between champ Brock Lesnar and Las Vegas’ Frank Mir outdrew Strikeforce’s live broadcast by nearly four times, but Spike TV is also a basic cable channel available in nearly 100 million homes. While Strikeforce's event was aired on Showtime, a subscriber-based channel purchased by nearly 20 million homes.

The Spike telecast drew two million viewers, but it's overall household rating average of 1.5 was actually smaller than Showtime's 2.1 rating, which had a total of 576,000 viewers.

Both the UFC and Strikeforce cleaned up in the coveted 18-34 male demographic with Spike drawing 513,000 viewers to Showtime’s 181,000.

Saturday's broadcast was the highest-rated MMA show for Showtime, besting the 522,000 viewers who watched Kimbo Slice defeat David "Tank" Abbott in February 2008.

“If you remember our April 11 card (Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz), the UFC counter programmed us that show too,” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. “It’s part of their business model. I don’t take it personally. We are going to keep doing what we are doing.”

In related Strikeforce news, the California State Athletic Commission released the official salaries from Saturday’s event (these are base salaries that.

The headlining Carano made $125,000, which was $100,000 more than the victor Santos recorded.

Gegard Mousasi, making his American MMA debut scored only $2,000 for his quick victory over Renato "Babalu" Sobral, who made $75,000.

Xtreme Couture’s Jay Hieron took home $55,000, including a $30,000 win bonus, for his efforts in preparing for multiple opponents. “The Ultimate Fighter” season No. 7 standout Jesse Taylor recorded $12,000 in his loss to Hieron.

The total disclosed payroll was $468,500.

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