Fedor Emelianenko Draws 25 Million ViewersAccording to a press release from M-1 Global earlier today, #1-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko’s historic Strikeforce debut against Brett “The Grim” Rogers drew a worldwide audience of over 25 million viewers, with 16 million people tuning in from Emelianenko’s home country, Russia.

The November 7th event, which aired live on CBS television in the United States and Canada, was watched by 5.46 million viewers in the United States alone. This was considered to be a big success and kept pace with two of the three EliteXC on CBS events from 2008.

M-1 Global drew considerable criticism prior to the event for its direction of Emelianenko’s career and lack of perceived contributions to the “co-promoted” event with Strikeforce, but the worldwide audience figures suggest that the M-1 Global brand is strong outside of the U.S.

Emelianenko’s fight aired at Noon on Channel 1 in Russia, which is a free, government-run television network that is available in roughly 120 million homes in the country.

Millions of viewers in South Korea also tuned in to see “The Last Emperor” in action on the SBS network.


Other areas of the world that witnessed the event include China, New Zealand, Indonesia, Africa, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, Turkey and Israel.

Live Internet streams in Japan and other countries, as well as ongoing viewership through “Video on Demand” services, have further added to the number of worldwide viewers who watched as Emelianenko knocked out Rogers in the second round.

While UFC President Dana White did all that he could do to try to discredit Emelianenko and Strikeforce, the numbers show that mixed martial arts is alive and well outside of the Octagon.