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Text of Dana White’s bizarre attack on Dave Meltzer

By Zach Arnold | May 14, 2012

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“It’s about the ratings from the last Fox show. You get these reporters who go out there and say all this [expletive] about the ratings without knowing all the facts. Well, I’m going to lay out the facts for you guys who don’t know a lot about television ratings. Here it is.

“First of all, Dave Meltzer wrote this huge story, doom and gloom story on how the UFC and Fox is blowing this things because of the numbers that came out. First and foremost, DAVE, you know I like you, I respect you, but you just lost your job at Yahoo… and you want to give us business advice? I’m actually writing a story next week that I’m going to put out of all the ways I think you could have, all the things that I think you could have done to keep your job at Yahoo. That’s story is coming out next week, Dave, you might want to read it, OK? And… what I want to explain to all the fans out there and people who aren’t fans about what went on, uh, on Fox 3 Cinco de Mayo.

“First of all, we were the number one program of the night with all key male demos. Now, I know a lot of don’t understand all of this but I’m going to break this thing down for you and explain it to you. During the last Quarter Hour, we ere the number one program of the night with all adult and male demos. We peaked at 3 million viewers during the main event, which is the way a show is supposed to build throughout the night! Now, Kevin Iole wrote in his story that we got beat by Shark Tank and NCIS with total viewers. OK? Let me explain to you how that works. Shark Tank, first of all, is a one hour show. 1.9 million of those viewers were 50 years old and older! They were 50-plus, 60% of the people that night were 50-plus years old! The median age on that show was 55 years old.

“And it gets better!

“NCIS, again a one-hour show, 3.3 million of their viewers were 55 years old and older. OK? That’s 75% of the audience, 75% of the people that were watching that show were over 55 years old. The median age on that show was 63 years old. UFC on Fox median age was 39 years old. So, what does this all mean? Oh, and one more thing. The HUT levels that night. HUT levels that night and HUT levels mean total viewers watching television that night were down almost 10 million from the first Fox show that we did, down almost 10 million viewers. 10 million people weren’t home watching TV that night. Well, it was Cinco de Mayo. The Avengers came out, which was you know the biggest opening in movie history. And one other thing — the NBA Playoffs that night that went off right around the same time we did, it was the San Antonio/Utah game, we beat them across the board in every way, shape, and form you can beat them. Right? Do you see the writers, uh, that cover the NBA going out there and going, ‘Oh my God, it’s doom and gloom, what’s going to happen to the NBA?’ Because if we beat them and our situation is so bad, what does that say for the NBA?

“So, my point of this whole thing is: 1) guys, do your homework. Seriously, do your homework before you go out and start shooting your mouth off in stories about things being a fad and doom and gloom and all this stuff. You don’t know enough about it to t-t-talk about it, right? And 2) Dave Meltzer, you just lost your job at Yahoo, buddy, OK? The last thing anybody needs from you is business advice.”

Jamie Penick (MMA Torch): Memo to Dana — the guy who fired Dave Meltzer at Yahoo just got axed himself

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 49 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

49 Responses to “Text of Dana White’s bizarre attack on Dave Meltzer”

  1. Matt Bishop says:

    So who takes the blame for putting a Fox show on a night that was going to have 10M less viewers?

    Rhetorical question, of course, because it’ll never get answered.

    • Steve4192 says:

      FOX wanted it that night, and thee really is no one to blame. FOX still has to fill out their schedule regardless of what viewership trends for the evening look like. They can’t just shut down the network because the Avengers came out in theaters.

  2. Do you see the writers, uh, that cover the NBA going out there and going, ‘Oh my God, it’s doom and gloom, what’s going to happen to the NBA?’ Because if we beat them and our situation is so bad, what does that say for the NBA?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t the bad ratings for the NBA been something of a known issue for a while now? I know I’ve read writers before that have at least touched on this.

    Firstly, I want it out there that I don’t think the Fox rating was as bad news as so many have insisted. Dana brings up an important point about demos. Now, there IS an issue in that Fox and the UFC need to ramp up their promotion for these specials, because the buzz on it was non-existent and the coverage outside of an occasional spot on a program that doesn’t really fit the demo was miserable. On the other hand, there were also a lot of factors beyond their control. I think everyone going in knew that they weren’t going to do a big rating, partially because of the reasons Dana mentioned but also because of the lack of name talent to put on the top right now and the fact that the NFL is off season.

    I think the rating was bad, and it’s something that needs to be addressed, but it’s not as big of an issue as some are making it out to be.

    Still, Dana was way out of line here. To try to cheapshot it and make it look like Meltzer was fired for ineptness or something is nothing more than crude bullying. Look, I’m one of the few people I know that’ll defend him, but if I can go into Dana mode for a minute: this fucking guy, he’s got to learn how to develop something resembling a thick skin, okay? He’s not a politician facing a partisan news program, or dodging questions about infidelities or whatever, or caught with his dick out in the men’s room. He’s a guy that is the face of a sport that gets really fucking kind treatment from its press, more so than some other sports. I mean, really, considering all the bullshit that goes down in combat sports, an examination of a worst case scenario resulting from one fucking rating shouldn’t send Dana into an emotional tailspin where he spits at a camera for five minutes and bullies a guy for doing his goddamn job.

    Besides, it’s getting real fucking old. It doesn’t even have any bite to it anymore.

  3. Rob Maysey says:

    But, this very same media has repeatedly shown that they will ignore these attacks–so long as they are not the recipient. . .

    In fact, Meltzer himself has been in on the attack/defend crowd himself–what goes around comes around. Job is to be consistent–not to carry a flag.

    • Sebring says:

      What a loaded reply. Let me take a wild guess: Your example of Meltzer “joining the attack/defend crowd” has something to do with that ESPN piece in which you were quoted, right?

      • Rob Maysey says:

        LOL.

        There are many–the ESPN piece is but one.

        Meltzer knows the numbers as well as anyone–and he knows his reply was crap.

        • Huckster says:

          You’re attacking the integrity of the journalist who has covered the sport longer than anyone. Forget the generalities and give us a specific example of him “flying the flag for Zuffa”

        • Rob Maysey says:

          His response to the ESPN article is just one.

          Look at it–he uses a Strikeforce Challengers card to support the statements of Lorenzo Fertitta that UFC pays in the neighborhood of “half the revenue” to fighters.

          He also ignores all other income sources except gate and PPV (note–Strikeforce Challengers had no PPV) in analyzing the claims. Like I, Melter has seen the contracts involved. There is no logical explanation at all for limiting the revenue calculation to just those 2 figures, unless you are straining to support a point.

          There have been many.

  4. J-Rock says:

    Is White saying that he got Meltzer fired for reporting things Dana didn’t like?

    • The Gaijin says:

      I think the more important question here is obviously – Who the hell uses Bing!?!

      Ed. — I’ve used it more often since Google’s new(er) privacy policy. But if you’re really worried about privacy, get a Linux distro like LPS or TAILS at http://www.distrowatch.com and put it on a USB stick and use it part-time.

  5. Steve4192 says:

    Honestly, I found that video blog very informative when Dana was discussing ratings breakdowns. It’s a shame he completely drowned out that interesting breakdown with his unwarranted attack on Dave Meltzer.

    Dana really needs to get thicker skin and stop taking this stuff personally.

    • Columbo says:

      Yeah, Dana saying that their 18-49 rating was higher than a bunch of re-runs. Real informative, Mr. White.

      Also, don’t forget about the UFC beating a first round NBA playoff game that aired on cable.

      • Zippy says:

        And a playoff game that featured two of the smallest markets in the league, at that. Notice Dana didn’t use any ratings involving Chicago, the two LA teams, New York, Boston etc.

  6. Brett says:

    My gripe with Meltzer is that hes always trying to prove that hes right and thus reports news that supports his viewpoint while ignoring news that doesn’t. Case in point is the fact that for years hes been saying to many UFC shows will burn out their audience, so he jumps on any news that proves him right and ignore news that doesn’t.

    The UFC gloom and doom angle is pretty absurd IMO

    -UFC has just started a new TV deal that pays them 100 million a year.

    -UFC’s attendance/live gate’s have never been better. Including sell outs in Japan, Sweden, Calgary, Atlanta. UFC 148 only has a few singles left and will sell out with the highest gate ever in the US. Their even doing million dollar plus gates for non-PPV cards like in New Jersey and Sydney.

    -Meltzer said UFC’s new video game was a big sales disappointment, yet UFC undisputed 3 has sold over a million copies world wide since it was released in mid-February. The x-Box and PS3 games were the 2nd and 3rd highest selling games when they were released. THQ even noted the games success in a press release for its better than expected quarter.

    -The UFC prelims on FX are already averaging higher ratings than the ones on Spike.

    -They are expanding internationally at a rapid pace, including debuting international TUF series in foreign countries. They’re on the largest network in Brazil, they are most likely moving to SkySports in the UK, and most likely having a show in China this year.

    -Every state except NY and Connecticut can have MMA fights in their state now because of the UFC and Marc Ratner’s lobbying. And Conn should be complete soon. Even NY will happen sooner or later.

    -They are single handily building Fuel TV.

    These are things that don’t support Meltzer’s theory so he tends to ignore or gloss over them. He desperately tries to push his agenda no matter what because he wants to be seen as the authority on MMA/wrestling. And its not like he does this just with MMA either, just read about how he seriously tries to compare Bruno Sammartino to Hulk Hogan as a wrestling draw/legend. Of course Bruno goes on his show and Hulk doesn;t so hes got an agenda here. Or how when a big story breaks he tells people he had heard about it weeks ago, although he never reported anything before it happened.

  7. Chris says:

    “Dave, you know I like you, I repsect you, now I’m going to behave like a child”.

  8. Garret says:

    I have a lot of respect for Dana White, but these youtube tirades/rants have grown old. You don’t see Roger Goodell, Bud Selig or any other commissioner/president uploading videos on youtube attacking the media. The job of the media is to report and criticize. In regards to the NBA and ratings, there has been a number of articles written about the problems currently plaguing the NBA.

    If anything, I think this video speaks volumes as to the mentality of Dana White at the moment. I think he is having trouble coming to grips with the fact that UFC has stalled, they’re audience has stopped growing. They’ve completely burned out their audience.

    It’s absolutely ignorant and unprofessional for a President of a major sports organization to attack something because they’ve lost their job. He failed to mention that Yahoo let go 2000 employees.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Dana White needs to take a chill pill. In fact, he might be wise to stop his vblogs for 6 months…. And stop most interviews. He needs to remove himself from the media to get a better perspective. The way he talks on twitter is immature. I love seeing a big wig get down with the fans. But he doesn’t do it the right way.

    2) The MMA Media is far too obsessed with ratings. They have value, but not the way the MMA Media uses them. Does each TUF Show need a ratings article? I’ve never seen any other sport with a media so obsessed with these sorts of numbers. Sure they care, but not even 1/10th the way the MMA people do.

    3) Dana White is too far inside the MMA bubble to realize he is screwing up the FOX shows. Diaz/Miller and Stann/Lombard? For FOX main events? Are you kidding me? Perhaps those seem like good main events when talking with internet fans, but they are hogwash for the casual fans. And the ratings so far have shown. In June & July, he has the following fighters on cards:

    W. Silva, Belfort, A. Silva, Sonnen, Faber, Ortiz, Griffin, Franklin, Aldo, Shogun, Noguiera, & Bisping….

    And he puts on a Stann/Lombard main event? WTF!! Instead of bashing everybody who is “hates on” the UFC…. Shut your mouth…. Open your ears…. And listen to what even the educated fans are telling you. Listen to what the ratings are telling you. And they are telling you that when you put sh!t on FOX, you get sh!t ratings.

    • edub says:

      1) Agreed, but is it a realistic proposition? I mean “they know what they’re doing”.. right?

      2) Boxing is along the same lines. You gotta remember other sports have tried and true lines of viewership. MMA is still so new that they really don’t have a proven formula, and what has worked for so long is not working right now (although I think a lot of it has to do with the Friday spot where TUF is concerned).

      3) Completely agree.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I would say RAW is a proven formula. Same time, Same Channel, Same Day of the Week…. Do it year round. It will increase viewership because people can know that lets say Wednesdays is UFC Night….

  10. Garret says:

    I agree with 45 Huddle, Dana is living inside the MMA bubble. Lombard/Stann is an intriguing fight, if you’re a hardcore fan. But for your casual fan it definitely isn’t. One interesting point to note, is EliteXC/Strikeforce on CBS have drawn far better ratings than UFC on Fox.

  11. Norm says:

    Dana’s response to said article is drawing more attention than the actual article would have because it was put out via Dave’s subscription newsletter.

    As fans why do WE even care about ratings, buy rates, etc? It has no bearing on whether I am tuning into the program. Compelling fights determine whether I tune in.

    The UFC should focus on how they are going to deal with the over saturation. Hardcore fans are burnt out. New fans don’t even know when shows are half the time, and the quality of PPV’s leave alot to be desired. Not to mention the $60 price tag.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Fans feel burnt out because of the way the schedule is done. One week there is a Saturday show. The next week a Friday show. Then a Tuesday or Wednesday show. Then one show is on FuelTV. The next is on FX. The next is on FOX. The next is on FOX.

      Do Pro Wrestling fans really get burnt out on RAW? Nope. The ratings hold steady.

      It is when you vary up the schedule so much that fans just don’t have it in them to figure out what is what.

      What Zuffa needs to do is very simple. They need a weekly TV show. 52 weeks a year. 2 hours a week on FX. Every week, fans come for the UFC. Do it on a Wednesday. They can even air the prelims each week on FuelTV.

      Once a month, put on a PPV with a few extra prelims on FX.

      So simple. The viewer no longer gets fatigue, despite the fact that there are more shows. Wednesdays just becomes UFC Night. It is part of their lifes schedule.

      But instead, Dana White wants to be an event planner…. And that just isn’t working out.

      • cutch says:

        The UFC wants to expand Worldwide, they can get away with putting PPV cards on at weird times in Japan/Australia but they can’t do that for Fight Nights, unless they want to do tape delayed shows.

        They could do a monthly fight night in North/South America that airs on FX and Fight fights on Fuel from Europe & Asia where the time difference wouldn’t really effect the ratings as it would be mainly hardcores watching anyway.

        Raw features the same guys (John Cena etc) wrestling every week, a typical MMA fighter fights maybe 3 times a year, so the stars (the main draws) fight on PPVs.

        They should cut the PPV number down to 12 though and that would leave room for main events on the Fox shows.

        Off topic but as a Brit would it be in the UFC’s interest to exploit the US & Cuban’s strained relationship,what with a genuine American War hero taking on a Cuban fighter.

  12. Jason Harris says:

    Nobody (including the UFC brass) expected Koscheck vs Hendricks to draw as well as the other two cards on FOX. They were on a busy night with a lot of competition, put out a card without a lot of star power, and still drew first in their demo, which is their goal.

    The ratings discussion is quickly turning into the new version of the PPV buys discussion, ie: “Why are they not breaking records every time???” rather than looking at the big picture of if the numbers they’re pulling actually mean success.

    I can’t help but roll my eyes when Koscheck vs Hendricks drawing less than a HW title fight on a holiday prompts “the sky is falling” replies

    • edub says:

      Same as people can’t help but roll their eyes at bullshit responses to consistent #s falling.

      The PPV numbers aren’t just “not breaking records”, they are dwindling. The numbers for house shows have fallen consistently. The numbers for FOX events have fallen with every show.

      These are facts.

  13. EJ says:

    I don’t see it as that bizarre and I actually agree with Dana on this and more importantly it’s a trend i’ve noticed with Meltzer. The guy has been off his game for a while now, simply put for whatever reason he’s been a shell of what he was as a reporter. I don’t know why it could be personal or his sources have dried up or whatever but this guy isn’t on his game and it’s hurt his credibility in the eyes of many people who used to hold him up as the best in the biz.

  14. david m says:

    Dana has lost his damn mind.

  15. Alan Conceicao says:

    When more old people watch someone else’s programming than *every* combined demographic watches yours, I could care less if you beat the Utah Jazz on cable. Shows like UFC on Fox 3 and 4 are tantamount to Bob Arum feeding Versus Ty Fields fights, except they must feel pretty comfortable that Fox is going to have to swallow it. Or they flat out don’t care if they’re cancelled from network TV, because Fox is paying a lot more than CBS did to get fewer viewers in the demographics and blah blah blah.

    45 is right – the fatigue is created by having a vast difference in the level of fights on PPV and free TV and not being able to go with any particular night and make it their’s. Big time boxing is on Saturday nights. Everyone knows college football is on Saturdays. NFL is on Sunday and Monday night. Pick a day, go with it. Deviate only occasionally, and if you do so, do it because you have something special. Instead, their weekly TV consists of the worst fighters under anything close to a UFC contract making no guaranteed money.

    • Zippy says:

      “Big time boxing is on Saturday nights.”

      Only three or four Saturday nights per year, depending on when Floyd and Manny are fighting. Of course, they chose to go head to head with one of those nights …

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        Yes Zippy, if you are trolling/incompetent, that would be an argument to make.

        • Zippy says:

          Nice, no facts, just an insult. Who’s the troll?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Well, if you make stupid remarks and demand “facts” afterwards when called out on it, yes, the odds trend strongly to either “troll” or “incompetent”.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Wow…what a clueless rube.

        • Zippy says:

          You’re the one claiming that big time boxing on Saturday nights is a deterrent to UFC claiming the night on their own. Yes, if this was 1971 when half the country would tune into boxing, they’d have a problem. But considering the UFC’s success establishing themselves with big events over the past several years on Saturday nights aside from the Floyd/Pacman level bouts, then it’s a pretty silly comment on your part. But yes, go ahead and insult me again instead of trying to back up your arguments …

        • edub says:

          The insult could have been doen without, but it doesn’t distract from the point. Big time boxing is Saturday night. Floyd and Manny are obviously the big draws. The problem with your opinion is that there are actually many more draws that do decent PPV numbers, and good #s on premium cable (“Canelo”, Cotto, Martinez, Berto, Chavez jr, Ortiz, Khan, both klitschko’s, and a few others).

          He wasn’t saying that they can’t be on Saturdays. He was saying that they change days too much to be consistent with fans.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And if they are worried about not enough content on FuelTV…. They should implement the Showtime model. The 4 fight prelim card on FuelTV (Showtime Extreme) and the 4 fight main card on FX (Showtime).

      And there is no reason to have 12 fights per card for these shows.. Do 9 fights per card, this way if one of them falls through last minute, there is still a full television line-up.

      So right now they have 6 FX cards and 6 FuelTV cards. That is 144 fights. This would turn into 16 cards with 9 fights per card. Stop Strikeforce. That is another 6 shows.

      Then the Feather, Bantam & Fly Divisions need to be fleshed out more. Eventually that will lead to 60+ additional fighters. Figure they average 2.5 fights per year…. And that is an additional 75 fights or 8 cards.

      So already they are at 30 cards for this weekly series.

      And that is without touching their FOX or PPV cards (which is a whole different topic). They don’t have to do 52 live weeks a year. They could probably do 40 to 45.

      It wouldn’t be a huge leap to do this. And it would really strengthen the UFC for years to come. They could probably end up averaging around 2 Million fans each week with a good 18-34 demographic and FX would be happy.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      I said they need to pick a day of the week and be consistent about showing fights then. I don’t care if they show them on Saturday morning at 9AM opposite the Fox Kids block.

  16. cutch says:

    Can the UFC really afford to put on that big of fights on Fox though?

    UFC 143 a week after Fox 2 drew 375,000 buys add Rashad & Sonnen Vs Bisping to that card and it does at least 200,000 extra buys. That’s around $5 million after the cable company takes their cut.

    The UFC apparently get $100 million for 18 shows and two seasons of TUF (excluding the International versions) and a few magazine shows,so they can probably pay $4 million tops for a Fox show.

  17. Jeff carbone says:

    So I guess it’s fair to say Dana won’t be paying daves hotel,transportation, and food to Vegas anymore on the ufc’s dime?

  18. Bob says:

    “I have a lot of respect for Dana White, but these youtube tirades/rants have grown old. You don’t see Roger Goodell, Bud Selig or any other commissioner/president uploading videos on youtube attacking the media.”

    Actually, you do. Someone like the NBA’s David Stern was recently on Mike & Mike, an ESPN radio show in the morning. Same with Selig. And as far as putting there foots in their mouth, Roger Goodell has been a blackbelt at that lately, with his inept (at times) handling of recent controversial football issues. I’m not even going to go into Hockey, with the idiocy, with shine brights 24/7.

    Keep some perspective. Dana isn’t alone on this.

    • edub says:

      Those men have never gone in to expletive filled rants unbecoming for a head of a major sports organization.

      They’ll openly disagree with many opinions. However, they won’t make personal attacks on anybody.

  19. Paradoxx says:

    Dana just being dana is always fun

    dana bringing the pain with dead on facts is awesome.

    Meltzer has been a tool for a while now.

  20. The Judge says:

    Anything that makes you feel better at night. The dog ate your ratings. And it was (was not) raining outside. Plus, the economy’s in recession. Let me break it down for you. Business as usual. Joe Rogan, tell them again how this is the greatest moment in UFC history.

  21. Mike says:

    This is pointless,inane, and inaccurate. There is no real way to tell how old the people watching a certain show are.

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