by Dann Stupp on Jan 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm ET
Bellator's Season 8 debut produced "fantastic" ratings, according to Spike TV President Kevin Kay.
With the move from MTV2 to Spike TV, Thursday's Bellator 85 event averaged 938,000 viewers, nearly three times the organization's previous record.
Bellator 85 took place at Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. Featherweight champion Pat Curran and lightweight champion Michael Chandler made successful tittle defenses on the four-fight main card, which followed Spike.com prelims.
The Spike TV broadcast peaked with a 1.2 rating and nearly 1.1 million viewers for the opening fight betweem Curran and challenger Patricio "Pitbull" Freire. The night's other title fight, Chandler vs. Rick Hawn, averaged 950,000 viewers before the audience saw a noticeable dropoff after midnight (the broadcast officially ran until 12:12 a.m. ET).
Compared to the Season 7 debut, ratings were up 394 percent.
Bellator's previous ratings record came in May 2011, when Bellator 44 drew 325,000 viewers. Overall, Bellator's 50 events on MTV2 averaged 180,000 viewers per event.
Bellator's all-time ratings include:
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