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The argument against airing UFC 100 on Spike TV to counter Strikeforce programming

By Zach Arnold | August 13, 2009

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Jason Bent at MMA Torch signals that Dana White’s attempt to air UFC 100 on Spike TV a month after the show aired live on PPV is Vince McMahon-style paranoia in order to combat Strikeforce because they signed Fedor.

Look, this show did 1.71 million PPV buys and was covered on ESPN and yes, everyone has seen the aforementioned main card bouts. However, it is a true disservice to your fans when you told them how important it was to PAY for this show, when they could have watched it for FREE a month later and this time you will actually get to see Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien and Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman, which were two fights most of us actually wanted to see.

So, Dana White comes out the bigger bitch on a night which will be topped off by two women fighting inside of a cage. If Strikeforce does not matter, why then, is he countering their programming with Brock Lesnar, who is the UFC’s biggest star at this moment? Why not go ahead and show Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida from UFC 98 and use that to set up some talk about Evans on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’? Using Brock means he is going for the jugular and most fans who paid to see Brock do it to Mir once will gladly flip over and watch the replay of it for free. It was an awesome performance. Getting to see some undercard fights along with it, makes it amazing.

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Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 62 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

62 Responses to “The argument against airing UFC 100 on Spike TV to counter Strikeforce programming”

  1. Zack says:

    “Also, the whole “Dana is bad for the sport” is tired and played out. Watch his last Q&A session, he was a huge hit. Fans come up to him all the time and ask for pictures and autographs like he’s their hero. His vlog’s get 50k-100k hits on average (maybe higher? can’t check anymore). If anything, most people like Dana. A lot.”

    The same could be said for Paris Hilton. You put any idiot on TV and the masses are going to flock to them. At the first Affliction weigh ins, Trump got a bigger pop than anyone other than Fedor.

  2. Mark says:

    Yes, they are competing will “ball sports”. They are competing with the movies. They are competing with Video On Demand. This isn’t Facial Tissues where you either use them or you don’t. This is discretionary income. And many forms of entertainment will always be directly and indirectly competition for them.

    This is really stretching it here. Like when video game enthusiasts give creative auditing figures to show more people play video games than go to the movies.

    Do they rival them in ratings? Well, since UFC is pay-per-view televised for the major shows it’s not a fair comparison, but the Spike specials only get a fraction of what Monday Night Football gets (usually between 8 and 10 million viewers.) They come close or tie what a regular season baseball game gets on ESPN (2 million on average, 3 and 1/2 million on big games), but playoff or even big regular season games still do much better than the Fight Nights.

    Do they rival them in merchandising? Nope. Baseball caps, basketball jerseys and football jerseys are everywhere, UFC t-shirts aren’t even close. Actually, most MMA shirts I see are stuff like Affliction and Tap Out.

    Do they rival them in press coverage? Not a chance. They’re second class citizens on ESPN, sparsely reported on in Sports Illustrated, and get next to no newspaper coverage. SI will never have to seriously think through whether they want to put a NFL player or UFC fighter on their cover that week.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    They don’t need to rival them in the ratings, merchandise, or press coverage for it to be a competitor. One has nothing to do with the other.

    Say for example I am at home on a Saturday night. I have the following choices:

    1. Watch Sports
    2. Go To The Movies
    3. Purchase UFC PPV
    4. Go out to dinner
    5. Play video games.

    These industries have very little to do with each other, but they are all competing for the same finite pool of money. That makes them indirect competition. It would be easy to say The Proposal isn’t going after the same demographic as the UFC. But video games and The Transformers 2 definitely does.

    Heck, the movies and going to Disney World are 2 completely different things. Yet when travel is down, movies are up (no pun intender for the recent Disney Pixar movie).

    At the end of the day, the UFC doesn’t need any other large MMA organization to stay competitive.

    The UFC CHARGES for their product. Therefore, to keep earnings high, they need to continue to be innovative and give the people what they want. This isn’t a cell phone where people are guaranteed to buy one in some form every year or two (and to a certain degree has become a necessity). The UFC is not a necessity, and never will be. And therefore there will always be that necessary fire under White & Fertitta’s behind to make their product fresh and watchable.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    From Dave Meltzer:

    “–The California State Athletic Commission sent this to competitors in the title matches on Saturday, which means Gina Carano, Cyborg, Gilbert Melendez and Mitsuhiro Ishida. You get one opportunity to weigh in. Those is no allowance because it’s a title match, so you make your contracted weight or the title match is off. No provision for weighing in later is allowed. The match may go on, but if you don’t make weight the first time, it’s not a title match.”

  5. Dave says:

    Oh Strikeforce, releasing Baroni.

  6. Mr.Roadblock says:

    I meant to ask this the other day. If/when Gina and/or Cyborg don’t make weight can they just make it a title fight for the next higher belt? It’s a made up belt anyway. Or rather an inaugural title match.

  7. socialcidal says:

    Jason Bent you’re an idiot. He’s trying to dominate the market. Brock Lesnar sells. Putting Brock Lesnar on tv for free a fight that most non fight fans haven’t seen will blackout the Showtime Show.

    Someone has to have a lot of money and one hell of a creative marketing strategy to get a piece of this market

  8. Zack says:

    So they won’t get an extra hour to make weight? I know there’s no one pound allowance for a title fight.

  9. A. Taveras says:

    I question whether this counter-programming has any effect when they use it against a non-PPV show. If you are already a Showtime subscriber you can either watch a replay with commercials, or a live MMA show. Not a tough choice.

  10. Mr.Roadblock says:

    A. Taveras,

    I left home (NYC) two years ago and haven’t been back since. Are people really calling Washington Heights WaHi? It’s actually a great sounding word. But has this now happened to every nabe? I have to say SoBro is still my fave.

    Like your blog.

  11. Mr. Dream says:

    British fans are unhappy with commercials. They demand more for their subscription of 12 GBP per month!

    Maybe the UK is now ready to pay PPV prices for the minutes of replays and fighter-corner banter between rounds.

    This would certainly help offset the losses they take on the 3PM European cards.

    Go get your money Dana & Lorenzo.

  12. archerD says:

    UFC made a HUGE deal out of UFC 100. After all the hype they take the so called, ‘greatest event in UFC history’ and show it for free to compete with strikeforce on Showtime? That seems weak to me. Dana even said only 4 people watch showtime, so why does he care? Given most people have DVRs what’s the gain?

    Dont get me wrong I LOVE counter programming. But showing the super duper special UFC 100 for this event smells desperate. Why not show one of the other PPVs? UFC 98 is not a bad alternative, since Machida needs to grow the casual fan base, and has a title fight coming up.


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