By Zach Arnold | February 14, 2012
Our friend MMA Supremacy notes that last week, non-UFC programming on Fuel TV averaged around 7,000 viewers. Not 700,000 viewers, not 70,000 viewers… 7,000. So, what’s the over/under for how many viewers UFC in Omaha draws on Wednesday night for Fuel?
Kevin Iole said that numbers for UFC 143 (Condit/Diaz) were lousy. 6,727 paid, 2,288 comps, 751 tickets unsold for a gate of $2.4M USD. He claims casino bought the majority of event tickets. If you had said to me four months ago that UFC Japan would have blown the doors off of a Nick Diaz UFC main event, I would have never believed you. So much for that.
Speaking of UFC Japan, Issei Tamura of Krazy Bee will take on Tiequan Zhang. MMA Planet in Japaense has a fascinating item on why Tamura got picked over Keinosuke “Tattoo Man” Yoshinaga, the young man who made his name in Akira Maeda’s Outsider promotion. MMA Planet says that Zuffa passed over Yoshinaga because of the amount of tattoos he has on his body and how it would be a bad thing for the company’s image in attracting sponsorships to have Yoshinaga in the UFC cage.
Yes, tattoos happens to be ‘code’ in terms of image purposes in Japan for youknowwhat.
It reminds me of an old incident about a decade ago when NOAH wrestlers came to the States and had their matches taped for Nippon TV. One of the American referees working a match with the NOAH guys had to put a white cover/sleeve over his tattoo on his arm because of the image that the tattoo meant to the network suits. So, Yoshinaga getting passed up because of his tattoos is nothing new in terms of Japanese protocol.
Blow up of the week
Dana White went on Twitter in defense of why the Nick Diaz/marijuana test story wasn’t reported ‘officially’ until Keith Kizer made the declaration. Unwittingly, Dana made a remark that would piss me off if I was Ariel Helwani:
“helwani broke Diaz story but didn’t release it cause he was respectful to Diaz and comm.”
How does one ‘break’ a story by sitting on it? Remember – Ariel works for Fuel TV now, so he’s part of the Fox family of networks that has a business relationship with the UFC. Dana was trying to stick up for Ariel but he did so in a way that made Ariel look like was both ‘first’ and yet not willing to pull the trigger.
Naturally, the heat started coming towards Ariel on Twitter and he brought the hammer in response:
The reason I didn’t report it when I had the info was because Keith Kizer wouldn’t confirm the news with me and I didn’t feel comfortable reporting news of such magnitude without his confirmation. I like to have at least two sources confirm a story before reporting, and when it has to do with a drug test failure, it would be a big risk to report something without the commission’s confirmation. I’m not looking to bat .500 here. I try to get everything right every time out. Got any other journalism tips for me while we’re at it?
It was interesting to see the backlash against Front Row Brian for leaking the Diaz story and how, for a 24 hour time period, the other MMA writers that knew about it were cryptically quiet.
Of course, the fallout from this led into Tomas Rios to discuss why other writers didn’t leak the story (legal liability, sources not going on record). His points are all valid except for the fact that Dana was praising a writer for sitting on a story as being ‘responsible,’ especially when a few days later ESPN started airing UFC Undisputed 3 video game spots telling fans that if they buy the video game now that they can get the Contenders pack featuring Nick Diaz. Plus, given Ariel’s relationship with Fuel, Dana’s remark put Ariel in an unnecessarily tough spot here.
Speaking of Twitter trouble, there have been several MMA writers/reporters/pundits who have been blocked by the UFC Twitter account over the last couple of weeks. Well, at least they are consistent with the way they handle media relations, I suppose…
War declaration of the week
Dentsu is backing UFC for what is believed to be several years worth of sold/backed shows in Japan. Right around the time Bushiroad bought New Japan from Yukes, the new owner said that WWE & UFC are his rivals. Well, UFC teaming up with Dentsu is heavy artillery. WWE can also cause seasonal damage for New Japan. A perfect example of this is coming up on 8/9 & 8/10 when WWE will run Smackdown shows in Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan, which is home turf for New Japan. The timing of the move also is bad news for New Japan, given that it’s right around the time they run their biggest series of the year in the G-1 tournament. It’s hard to imagine a generation ago that New Japan would be having to deal with these kinds of roadblocks but now they are.
Article of the week
Jonathan Tweedale, head honcho of the Vancouver athletic commission & a man who has clashed with me over the issue of drug usage in combat sports, has this rather fruitful defense in favor of Nick Diaz in regards to whether or not he should be suspended in Nevada for marijuana usage.