Former UFC welterweight title contender Rory Macdonald made his long awaited Bellator MMA debut on Friday night, and according to the numbers, the move is paying off in more ways than one. The newest shining star under the Scott Coker-led organization helped draw an average of 607,000 viewers during Friday night's tape-delayed broadcast of Bellator 179. MacDonald defeated Paul Daley by way of submission in the second round of their headlining matchup in London, England.

The fights were live across the pond earlier in the day, but the Spike TV televised broadcast did not begin until 9 p.m. eastern time on Friday. With today's fast-paced, media-based technology many would-be viewers had the results as the event unfolded.

Stiff competition

Despite the tape-delay setback, Bellator 179 viewership numbers were not disappointing. The Viacom-based promotion's last tape-delayed event came on April 14 from Budapest, Hungary, drawing an average of 522,000 viewers.

Bellator 179 went up against stiff competition on Friday night. The NBA Playoffs drew 5,096,00 viewers, while the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged 1,546,00 viewers. The MacDonald-Daley fight itself was the most-viewed fight on the card. The bout averaged 765,00 viewers and peaked at 813,000.

DVR technology allows viewers to record and watch at a later date and the numbers through Monday saw a spike, with the fight peaking at 955,000 and averaging 877,000.

Greener pastures

MacDonald was signed to the Bellator Mma banner on August 26, 2016 but his May 19, 2017 fight marked his first appearance for the organization.

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He took a risk taking on the hard-hitting Daley in enemy territory, as Daley is a native of England, but the gamble paid off.

MacDonald allegedly made $400,000 for his Bellator 179 performance, whereas, his highest paid UFC performance was $162,000 for his knockout victory over Tarec Saffiedine, and not his welterweight title performance that we all remember against Robbie Lawler.

When MacDonald came to Bellator he was arguably the hottest free agent on the mixed martial arts market, with wins over now- welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, Nate Diaz, and UFC Hall of Famer, B.J. Penn.

MacDonald is arguably the most popular active Canadian MMA fighter since former UFC welterweight champ and Tri-Star teammate Georges St. Pierre. It is uncertain at the time of this writing who MacDonald will compete against next.