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Of long-term contracts and low(er) UFC PPV buy rates

By Zach Arnold | July 23, 2013

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Remember when Dana White said that Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman would draw 800,000 PPV buys?

How many years has the conventional wisdom been that re-matches in MMA draw better the second go-round and in the rubber match?

One of the interesting situations the UFC is dealing with has to do with site fees at casinos. It’s common knowledge that boxing fights attract the whales and that’s what the casinos want. Conversely, MMA attracts more of a younger crowd and not many whales. The hope was that as UFC and MMA matured that more whales would start to be attracted to the fights. Unfortunately, that is just not turning out to be the case and many casinos, big and small, are starting to recalibrate what site fees/four wall deals they will offer. In California, this is becoming more of a factor on tribal land because players like Fantasy Springs, Morongo, and Chumash are taking a pass on MMA in favor of traditional boxing spot shows. Only Pechanga (with Bellator) and Thunder Valley (independents) are willing to touch MMA events.

Casinos are second-guessing their Return on Investment when it comes to pouring money into the MMA space, similar to what sponsors who have crashed & burned discovered in a hurry. A touch of irony given who owns the UFC.

Ed Fishman, who wanted to buy PRIDE, had the right idea after all. He wanted to buy the organization, keep it up-and-running in Japan, but run major casino events and attract whales by having a product featuring a lot of Asian fighters. History sure would have been different if Sakakibara & Ishizaka actually wanted to stay in business… but they couldn’t given that police basically wanted them out for good. If they hadn’t viewed Ed Fishman as simply a money mark, PRIDE could have been a very interesting casino play today.

The other trend of note is that many UFC fighters are starting to sign very long-term bout deals.

The answer as to why the fighters and UFC are agreeing to these types of contracts — a marriage of necessity. There’s no one else in the industry who can pay what UFC can, so beggars can’t be choosers. And for the UFC, they can always cut a fighter from a contract. It’s really the best of all worlds for UFC.

The only problem, however, is that UFC is starting to eliminate any sort of convenient excuses to give politicians as to why there shouldn’t be an Ali Act in MMA. Granted, there hasn’t been one prosecution of an Ali Act violation since the law was passed (and there are currently a ton of contracts in boxing that contain as least a few major violations of the Act given that the TV networks are basically de facto ‘promoters’)… but UFC will eventually have to deal with a political environment where desire for an Ali Act in MMA strengthens. It’s going to happen sooner or later, given that Harry Reid will lose his Senate leadership role down the road.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 56 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

56 Responses to “Of long-term contracts and low(er) UFC PPV buy rates”

  1. Chuck says:


    How do you figure that Harry Reid will lose his role as Senate majority leader? He may not be the most popular Senator, but he won reelection in 2010 (by a good margin at that). There is no way the Republicans will gain majority in the Senate anytime soon (they lost about ten seats in the House last November, so their influence there is waning) so what then? Chuck Schumer will take over as Senate Majority Leader then? I would probably prefer Schumer over Reid, but still.

    Good for Nelson for resigning with UFC, but for nine fights? He is a god damned fool. It’s the same thing that happened with Randy Couture; he signed a contract with UFC for (I want to say six fights. Don’t feel like looking it up) and retired before doing all those fights, hence was stuck under the contract. I don’t think Nelson will be as well off as Couture, who had the influence to break away from UFC (twice at that). Nelson will be knocked into assisted living by the sixth fight of that contract, going by that way he is going…

    • Zach Arnold says:

      On Reid, I’m talking more or less a decade from now. He’ll always be around as long as he can simply because he’s a hardcore political machine with a political family to support. It’s family business. Schumer might actually be more likely to embrace an Ali Act provision for MMA given that he’s from New York than, say, Dick Durbin.

      McCain is the point man here on getting the Ali Act for MMA. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in boxing will be the ones making a push for it. They have the money & leverage to do so and it would be in their best business interests.

  2. nottheface says:

    Fishman had an interesting plan for PRIDE to also offer select fighters a stake in the promotion, giving them an incentive to see it succeed.

    The long deals is basically a retirement plan to guarantee they’ll end their careers under contract with no chance to go anywhere else. The fighters agree to it because they’re being signed at a higher rate. The UFC likes them because if the fighter loses several in a row and damages his brand they can cut him. And if he keeps winning, there’s too many fights to finish the contract, so they don’t have to worry about a future rival landing them if they need a name.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    I have been saying for a while now… The UFC put on too many PPV’s. I am glad we are seeing some shows fail. They don’t have the star power to put on 16 to 18 “BIG” shows per year. And that is exactly what they continue to try to do with a combination of PPV’s and FOX shows. Not to mention it is an abuse to their fan base to continue to charge for so many shows.

    What we need to see from the UFC is…

    a) 1 Big Show per month. That would mean 8 PPV’s and 4 FOX Shows.

    b) Expansion in the UFC Fight Night Series. Start with 2 shows per month, which would be 24 shows per year. Work there way up to a weekly show.

    Which means short term fans would have 36 shows a year… Which is only a few more then they did last year, only with less required “BIG” shows. And then slowly work there way up to 50+ shows a year.

    The UFC wants to expand their weight classes. Eventually they will want to add Men’s Strawweight and probably 2 or 3 more female divisions. The future of those title fights for these divisions is not PPV. It should be used as a way to get people to watch a weekly TV show.

    I have no problem with the UFC having 12 divisions (9 men, 3 female). But I do have a problem if they use it as a way to justify more PPV’s. The PPV model should only be used for the REAL stars of MMA.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    And let’s be honest here….

    Look at Bellator’s ratings. Fight Master will be gone after 1 season unless somebody at SpikeTV puts their pride before any sort of business sense.

    Bellator MMA is moving to Friday Nights.

    The fad of MMA is over. I’m not saying the UFC is going to fail. They have enough of a base to make the sport decent for many years to come. But there aren’t enough MMA fans to really even support a 2nd organization like Bellator. The UFC will be probably averaging around 1 Million per show on FOX Sports 1 a few months in.

    The UFC has to stop acting like they are onto the next NFL. It’s a niche sport and should be treated as such. All of these horrible PPV’s have to go. Henderson/Evans should have been cancelled. The fans who bought tickets were done a disservice.

  5. Chris says:

    Good Stuff Zach.

  6. david m says:

    When the UFC puts on shit events, they do shit numbers. They have nobody to blame but themselves. The UFC knew what would happen when they agreed to the FOX deal–they would lose many PPV-caliber matches. UFC braintrust thought it would be worth it. Hard to say if they were correct or not. Ask Vince McMahon what happened when he started giving away his money matches on free tv.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “When the UFC puts on shit events, they do shit numbers”

      Problem is, even when a card does ‘shit numbers’, they still turn a pretty substantial profit on the event. As far as giving away PPV caliber matches on FOX, the only thing they are giving away are the divisions that are abysmal draws on PPV. They aren’t losing anything. The belts that draw PPV buys (WW through HW) are still exclusively contested on PPV events.

    • Jason Harris says:

      “When the UFC puts on shit events, they do shit numbers. “

      It’s funny how far the sport has come that we consider 300-400k PPV buys “shit numbers”. Wasn’t too long ago when 150k was amazing.

      Even still, for all the doom and gloom about UFC’s “decline”, they seem to be doing a hell of a lot better than anyone else on PPV.

  7. Fluyid says:

    Save this comments section for when anyone wants to accuse 45 of being a Zuffa shill. He ain’t shilling here. To this point. 🙂

  8. mmalogic says:

    2013 is on pace to beating 2012 and 2011 ppv numbers. 2012 pulled around 5.8m buys with 13 ppv’s… 2011 pulled 6.5m buys with 16 ppv’s… and 2013 is on pace to doing over 6.5m buys with only 13 ppv’s.

    That’s incredible considering the fact that UFC’s shoulder programming like countdowns and unleashed (content zuffa uses to promote ppv’s) have like 10 times less exposure than they had on spike.

    a ppv like rashad vs hendo would have done atleast 200k plus if the UFC countdown shows had the exposure they had on spike.

    Moving most of their first run content to FS1 will recreate what they had on spike if not better… because FS1 will be virtually just as accessible, will have more first run content than spike, way better timeslots than they had on spike. and among better programming than they had on spike (nasccar, mlb, college football and basketball)

    Also, Fox/FS1 isnt giving the UFC the entire primetime block on wednesday nights plus a 7pm preview show so they can run replays…

    They are just placeholders for a weekly live fighting series which is likely what Fox/FS1 really wants.

    This will be huge for the sport… in general the markets which produce consistently higher than average ratings in the nation are markets that the UFC consistently stage live events.

    With a weekly fight series the UFC will be able to stage a live event in every major US market (around 30) at least once a year. This is a no brainer for Fox/FS1 and Zuffa.

    This also opens the door for Tuf and tuf finales to air on big Fox to drive more traffic to fs1. I can see Fox trying it out once they have a weekly fight series on fs1 to funnel traffic to it.

    With zuffa moving to a subscription model overseas to monetize the back end (instead of ppv) they will need way more fresh premium content which a weekly fight show solves).

    2014 and beyond is bullish for zuffa. Imagine if contenders like weidman, zombie, gustaffson had their fights on fs1 instead of fuel prior to their title shots?

    Imagine UFC countdown shows getting similar exposure to what they had on spike. if 2013 is on pace to beating 2012 and 2011 in ppv buys, 2014 will certainly beat 2013.

    With year over year ppv’s on pace to going back to growth, a bigger licensing deal around the corner with fox, and Global expansion running full steam it’s gonna continue to rain.

    With FS1, the goal right now would be to get back to ufc on spike level numbers by the end of 2014. (1.8m plus for fight nights, 1.3m for tuf, 800k plus for unleashed, around 500k for countdowns, etc…)

    Zuffa has a live event scheduled almost every week for 4 weeks leading up to tuf… so whoever in the UFC fanbase doesnt know about fs1 will likely know by the time tuf debuts.

    The biggest threat right now is Fox not getting the carrier deals done in time.

    Assumming fs1 is in atleast 80m homes by launch, the UFC should be getting around a million or more on FS1 by the time tuf debuts.

    Versus which was in 80m homes averaged 860k viewers with 4 ufc fight nights spaced out over a year. With fs1 the UFC has content every week. Below 860k would be a massive disappointment.

    if the UFC can get back to spike numbers on fs1, they will routinely pull 4.5m or more on big fox and around 8m ppv buys or more per year with 13 ppv events… essentially getting back to growth in pretty much every aspect in the US market.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Based on the numbers being provided on this thread and on Wikipedia, I count 3.3 million buys for this year. That means to MMALogic’s mark of 6.5 million, they need to average half a million buys in their next 6 shows, 3 of which are headlined by Jose Aldo, Ben Henderson, and Cain Velasquez. Possible? Maybe.

      The rest is the usual MMALogic talk about fantastic future ratings, great lead in programming, never ending growth, etc etc etc. Somehow getting a couple hundred thousand more people watching TUF leads to 2 million more watching Fox. That’s…interesting.

      Also, just looking here at the viewership…the same number of people watched the last season of TUF as they did like, the Lesnar/Dos Santos season. And that wasn’t even the lowest rated one on Spike. So, yeah.

      • mmalogic says:

        i havent seen wikepedia… use this as they use meltzers numbers:

        plus these reported numbers by melzter:

        UFC 160: 375k (reported to be between 350 to 400)
        ufc 161: 150k (reported to be below 200k but above 140k)
        ufc 162: 675k (reported to be between 650k to 700k)

        here are my estimates for the remaining shows behind my statement:

        ufc 163 aldo/zombie: 200k buys

        ufc 164 Bendo/Pettis: 300k buys

        UFC 165 Jones/Gustaffson: 400k buys

        UFC 166 Cain/JDS: 500k buys

        ufc 167 GSP/hendricks: 700k buys

        UFC 168 Anderson/weidman: 1m buys.

        These are hardly optimistic estimates. this gives you roughly 6.6m buys… beating 2011 which had 16 ppv’s (3 more than this year).

        Now bendo/Pettis may do a bit less but weidman/anderson with rousey may do a bit more…

        The lesnar/carwin tuf season WAS in fact the lowest rated tuf season on spike.

        2m more on fox? what’s the current average minus it by 4.5m… that’s not 2m more viewers. the last show without the NFL push (ufc on fox7 in the spring) pulled 3.7m viewers.

        that’s not 2m more viewers that’s less than a million more.

        The fox show last year in the spring pulled 2.4m… so yeah a few hundred thousand more viewers on your smaller cable product will translate into many more viewers on your big events.

        Rashad vs Phil Davis pulled 4.7 million on fox right after their spike deal was over. today that type of main event wouldnt do as well because the UFC hasnt had a real home to spring board off of since leaving spike.

        where do the new eyeballs they convert on fox go? they dont have enough weekly content or shoulder programming on fx and fuel isnt accessible.

        With FS1 you can capture those eyeballs and feed them back. the larger the fanbase you have on fs1 the bigger the buzz for the fox shows… the bigger the buzz the more new eyeballs which can then be converted and captured back into fs1 and a snowball effect transpires… this is when we’ll see a clearer picture of what the ceiling is for this sport.

        The biggest ppv years for the UFC were at a time when CBS had network shows 4 times a year… all those eyeballs who liked what they saw went to spike because they had consistent and accessible mma programming.

        There are more free live UFC events than ever before. spike just had 6 fight nights with unleashed inbetween 2 tuf seasons. then 1 hour prelim specials were added, then 4 versus events.

        you now have 18 free fight nights and 14 2 hour prelims along with everything else across 3 networks.

        FS1 will have 14 fight nights and 14 2 hour prelims (28 free live events in total), 2 seasons of tuf, 14 new ppv replays per year, new episodes of unleashed, ufc tonight, ufc primetime, ppv replays, etc… all on one network.

        if by the end of 2014 the UFC gets back to spike numbers on fs1 it’s a homerun for both zuffa and fox/fs1.

        Fox can monetize the UFC in ways spike never could… Fox will be selling ads for the UFC along with mlb, nascar, nfl, college football, basketball whereas spike was selling ads for the ufc alongside manswers… 2 different sponsor pools. Fox can monetize a weekly fight series and UFC’s content to justify the cost whereas spike never could.

        I dont know for a fact what the numbers will end up being… what I do know is that with the FS1 and FOX deal we’re gonna see a much better picture of what that ceiling is.

        if the ceiling are spike numbers (which i believe should actually be the baseline) it is) we’re looking at a 7m plus ppv’s per year and 150m to 300m plus per year (depending on how many more fight nights they do) eventual fox deal.

        if that’s the ceiling for the current US market, that’s perty darn good.

        if you factor generational critical mass (18-34’s growing up and replacing the current old guys who dont watch ufc) the long term picture looks really good.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          This is all speculation. If all the PPV headliners stick and if a lot of guys that haven’t drawn recently draw more than usual (like Cain and Bendo) and if and if and if….man, its been a long time since you actually brought real insider info to the table. What is it now, 4 years? 5?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Any PPV numbers for 2013 are inflated.

      The UFC gave two fighters coming off losses title shots in order to increase overall buyrates. This happened with Jones/Sonnen and GSP/Diaz. Also add in the “new” factor for female fighting, which probably overly increased the PPV Buys on the the Rousey/Carmouche PPV as well.

      You said a while back that the UFC established a floor for PPV Buys… Well, they broke through that floor big time in the last 18 months.

      Right now they are working with 4 of 9 divisions that have not matured in terms of fighter. That will only go up as fighters enter there 2nd, 3rd, or 4th contracts with the UFC. Which means pay will go up and being able to get away with 150,000 PPV Buys will be harder and harder. Not to mention that fans are STILL learning not to buy every show, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the floor went down to 90,000 or so for bad shows.

      • mmalogic says:

        the floor did break… but not everything is equal. If everything being equal and the floor broke then zuffa’s ppv model would be in trouble.

        UFC countdown shows used to pull around 500k viewers on spike. today they dont even pull 50k on fuel. The fact that the UFC is on pace to match or beat 2011’s numbers (with only 13 events versus 16) is incredible.

        with spike zuffa could sell a shit card and pull 250k buys because of the countdowns and everything was on one network.

        Also keep in mind Brock lesnar fought in 2011.

        Chael vs Jones actually didnt do that much better than the average jones fight. Diaz vs GSP did.

        the question is what’s the sweet spot for zuffa in ppv?

        if you’re talking about 8 ppv’s the average buys would go up but total buys would not. we’re talking maybe 5 million buys. versus a potential 8 million with 13.

        the sweet spot is likely 12 or 13.

        Even if Fox can monetize a 500k buy show. if they can get enough viewers to pay the UFC 8 million per event that means Zuffa can likely sell 700k buys for a similar show. so you’ll always have a ppv component. if fox can monetize a 700k show then zuffa should be able to sell 1m for a similar show.

        you’ll always have paid option to monetize the back end. now ppv prices will likely drop significantly once tv is being consumed through the internet, but there will always be a paid option.

        whether it transitions into subscription or stays pay per event zuffa will always have a 150m plus revenue stream on the back end in the USA.

        The biggest room for revenue growth in the US is the fox deal. In as you say a weekly fight series and with sports properties being gobbled up and FS1 being heavily dependent UFC’s success that looks promising.

        if you look at it from a maximizing revenue perspective, zuffa needs both fox and ppv to monetize the eventual 13 or so weight classes and 50 plus live events.

        Listen, with so many live events you’re creating contenders, and marketable champions at a rapid pace, and thus big fights. you’re gonna need 13 ppv’s to monetize that.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “you’ll always have paid option to monetize the back end. now ppv prices will likely drop significantly once tv is being consumed through the internet, but there will always be a paid option.”

          You can almost straight up guaranteed this never happens unless the current system as we know it changes drastically. Prices have only gotten more expensive even as TV exposure has increased and there has been no indication from the UFC or in any other business that uses PPV as one of its primary revenue drivers that this will happen.

        • mmalogic says:

          yes, because music didnt drop significantly in price once the supply chain changed.

          How much do you pay for news today?

          PPV distributors take around half… youtube takes around 15%. would you like help with the math?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, mmalogic. Youtube charges 15% because they know they don’t have enough market clout in this environment to demand more. The suppliers will end up being the same people running line into people’s houses or granting them 4G/5G/whatever access wirelessly. No one is leaving that money on the table.

        • The Gaijin says:


          LOL and this guy was considered the big inside/biz expert?

          I hope this is just some troll getting their jollies off of pretending to be mmalogic, though the writing style is identica, because this guy’s lost his magic.

        • mmalogic says:

          stupid? Itunes, amazon etc.. have all the clout in the music industry… why have the prices dropped pray tell?

          Because that’s how the market works.

          when the supply chain becomes more efficient costs come out.

          So please name an instance when eventually hasnt?

        • The Gaijin says:

          The problem is the supply chain is currently controlled by cable providers, who also provide the internet service. So when TV comes thru the internet they’re going to get their cut there too and they’re not going to slash their profits, “because internet”.

          The mode of delivery is likely to change, but I just don’t see how the price is going to change. If that was the case why isn’t Yahoo streaming PPV discernably cheaper?

          Perhaps if Google Internet makes a big run with their fibre networks they could pull an Apple/Amazon and upset the market. Maybe Netflix will figure-out a way to deliver PPVs or perhaps the UFC will work with a partner to set up iPPVs and stream directly, but it will still need to be delivered via cable provider and they will find their pounds of flesh…look at the cable battles with Netflix already b/c people are cord cutting, now imagine they think they’re losing the PPV cash cow.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          The supply chain for petroleum is as efficient as it has ever been. So when will oil prices drop?

        • Mike Fagan says:

          “If that was the case why isn’t Yahoo streaming PPV discernably cheaper?”

          Pretty sure the price is fixed by the UFC’s contract with PPV providers.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Pretty sure the price is fixed by the UFC’s contract with PPV providers.”

          Interesting and makes sense. Thanks for the info, Mike.

      • mmalogic says:

        but yeah, 150k buys is a disater when you count opportunity costs…. if a ppv cant pull at least 400k buys it shouldnt be on ppv.

        this will eventually be the litmus test. with weight classes growing, with so many titles, with so many free events creating contenders and potential fights, eventually if you’re fight cant pull 400k buys you’re not gonna get a ppv slot.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          They’ve been running sub-200K buy PPVs for awhile now. Their pay is so strongly tilted towards bonuses to accommodate this. Why pretend otherwise?

        • mmalogic says:

          3 events were sub 200k. 2 last year, 1 this year. Im not pretending otherwise (franklin/silva, bendo/edgar, hendo/rashad).

          when you’re countdown shows go from 500k viewers to less than 50k you cant sell shit cards.

          when you’re countdown shows are pulling around 500k targeted viewers you can sell shit cards like Franklin vs Okami.

          These shows are losing a ton in opportunity costs zuffa but has no choice right now. They are placeholders for the future when hopefully they will have the proper fights and distribution for promoting them.

          The difference is I dont see it as a problem with product quality as some do. There were just as many crappy cards years ago… if not more. There were fewer overall cards so standards werent as high as they are today.

          I see it as a problem of distribution and exposure of promotional content. With FS1 I believe that problem will largely be solved. Moreover, I believe the quality “non-problem” will also be solved.

          Zuffa has more incentive than anyone else to stack these cards and get the most amount of sales as possible. They only have 13 opportunities a year to get the ppv dollar. The ppv cards will only get better long term.

          Guys will have to fight for a spot and the cream will rise to the top… the best perceived fights and perceived fighters will be on ppv.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Right; so Countdown ratings are down solely because of access and not because, *GASP*, people don’t care about watching Countdown shows as much anymore? \

          Yeah, there’s not really more crappy cards now than they were last year or the year before. That’s true. What you’re ignoring is the possibility that the fans watching are more likely to see the crappy cards for what they are now because their familiarity with the UFC is so much greater than it was at the dawn of the Spike TV deal.

    • The Gaijin says:

      So basically – copy, paste and ctrl + f from the same post you’ve made whenever they’ve struck a new deal? Same b.s. and fantastical projections and forecasts based on the headiest of assumptions. Remember the claims you made when the Fox, FX, Fuel deal came out? Yeah…look at all the stars and draws they’ve made! Ratings and buys are thru the roof!! The goalposts keep moving and it’s really that *next* new deal that’s the one that will show us what the real ceiling is…Just a bunch of buzzwords and consultant speak.

      “if you factor generational critical mass (18-34’s growing up and replacing the current old guys who dont watch ufc) the long term picture looks really good.”

      There’s a real quantifiable statement a guy can really stand behind.

      If this was a publicly traded company, people would be laughing you off as a pump-and-dump plant. When 45 is swiss cheesing your positive slant that should tell you all you need to know.

      No one takes you seriously and whatever “street cred” you had has been shot for ages.

      • mmalogic says:

        what dont you get about generational critical mass?

        People grew up watching football, basketball, baseball… and as they aged their siblings, children, nephews, grand children etc… grew up watching it.

        That hasnt happened in the UFC yet. you need another 20 years to even begin to see it and if they hold onto the 18-34 demo and with some basic arithmetic you can see what that means.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Because MMA is a real gather the family around the TV on a Sunday or at Christmas sport!

          Those sports were also, in theory, able to take advantage of this concept when there was 5 channels and every sport was on broadcast tv. Times have changed and options are almost unlimited. UFC/MMA and any other niche sport is not going to see some giant pop from “generational critical mass”. There are so many contingencies and ifs in your plan already and who knows how long they wave is going to last – interest is waning and fewer stars are being made.

        • mmalogic says:

          it’s not gonna just “pop” this is something that happens gradually. people die and are replaced. the population recycles gradually.

          the current over 50 year olds need to die and be replaced and that’s gonna take roughly 20 years based on the average lifetime expectancy in the states.

          They will be replaced by people who didnt grow up with the UFC but who arent averse to it. then they will be replaced, and on and on until the replacements are those who grew up watching the UFC with their dads.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Nothing that was ever popular ever became less popular with time, Gaijin. The Backstreet Boys are as big today as they ever were! Now if only they could attract more teenage girls….

      • The Gaijin says:

        Also – you haven’t been able to predict accurately over a 2-4 year timespan and we’re supposed to buy into your 20 year projection?

        • mmalogic says:

          im not asking you to buy my prediction… im asking you to do math.

          look at the historical demo breakdowns for a typical UFC show. In general (and besides the NFL) the historic ratings are just as good as the major league sports in the target demos.

          But why do these sports sometimes pull twice as many viewers or more? because people over 50 do not watch the UFC… they didnt grow up with it.

          Nearly half of the current population is over 50 years old. What do you think is gonna happen when those people die and are replaced by people who grew up with the UFC?

          nearly 50% of the country is not permeable to UFC content. at some point 100% will be… that’s when the UFC will achieve generation critical mass.

          You dont have to buy this school of thought, but it seems fox has and that’s why they are investing early in it to the tune of a 100m a year and the entire wendesday night primetime block on fs1.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Or people get their kicks out of it when they are young and then don’t watch it as much as they get older…

          Most of the best fights being behind a $55 paywall might have something to do with that.

          Put fewer fights on PPV, and your theory would most likely work.

          Continue the current business model and they cut themselves off at the balls at every turn.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          For the UFC to make a dent going further…

          They would need to adopt the following business model…

          1. Weekly TV Show

          2. 6 Shows on FOX Per Year

          3. 6 PPV’s. Only for the top guys. Basically GSP, Silva & Jones. Everything else is on FOX or FOX Sports 1.

          Then you will see growth. And then you will start to see the doubling of the fanbase.

          You won’t see it when you have to pay $715 in a year to see most of the best fights.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          But ask people to $330… For 6 PPV’s.

          And then have 6 Men’s Title Belts and 3 Female Title Belts…. 18 to 24 title fights on TV a year…

          Then this sport will take off to it’s highest potential.

          And then maybe… Just maybe… Will go from a niche sort to the #5 sport in America…. Behind the big 4 team sports.

          But that will never happen…. Because Fertitta & White don’t have the sense to go in that direction. They are going in the highest dollar signs today direction. Not the long term highest dollar signs in 10 to 15 years.

        • The Gaijin says:

          But you’re asking us to do the math on the absolute best case scenario and some of the inputs seem like big stretches. You’re also asking us to ignore a number of things about the current business model and modus operandi of the ownership of the organization. Could that change or could the delivery system for their product change? Sure – a bunch of things could or couldn’t – but a lot of these claims work off of a paradigm shift and I don’t see that happening with the current owners…they’ve outright said time and again they’re in teh PPV business and if you don’t like it don’t f&**ing buy it.

          You’re also making big leaps in saying that people are going to stick around with the UFC long-term and pass them along to the next generation. What’s the numbers on the staying power/loyalty of fans as they move from the 18-35 demo in mma in particular? Do we have any numbers on how well it is expected to be passed along? What’s the demo breakdown for these people look like? Will they have anyone to pass this down to in the next gen? Seems to me it’s a lot of single white males who live off their overdraft.

        • nottheface says:

          Why are people so convinced that a sport where two people inflict brain damage on each in a cage will continue to be viewed as acceptable entertainment in the future?

  9. David M says:

    Dana should be on the next flight to Hawaii to get BJ to return at 155. He is the only draw at 155 in UFC history

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    Dave Meltzer is reporting on MMA Fighting that Silva/Weidman did 550,000 PPV Buys.

    Imagine what it would have done if they only had 8 PPV’s in a year…

    I have already skipped one PPV this year (Evans/Henderson). And I will be skipping Aldo/TKZ. The UFC is doing something wrong when fans like me are skipping PPV’s.

    • Jason Harris says:

      “Imagine what it would have done if they only had 8 PPV’s in a year…”

      Probably not enough to make up for the loss of all of those other PPVs.

      Everyone is so obsessed with that ONE BIG RECORD SETTING FIGHT NUMBAR!!!11 that they seem to forget that even at 150k PPV buys it’s highly unlikely they didn’t make money on that card.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Disagree. You put those guys on regular TV more… you build up more fans… which means more PPV sales…

        • david m says:

          Nobody would be a fan of mma after watching some of these dreadful ppv fights. Tis a good thing Roger Gracie’s most recent embarrassing performance wasn’t on FOX.

  11. Rob Maysey says:

    I have to give MMA Logic props–posts are interesting if nothing else, and that poster is incredibly good natured.

  12. david m says:

    I don’t disagree with mmalogic on generation changing or whatever he dubbed it. MMA is not a fad; comparing it with the Backstreet Boys (while made in gest) was apples to oranges. Football wasn’t always popular in this country, but as it gained exposure, those who found it distasteful were replaced by a generation of people who grew up accepting it. Or you could compare mma to online dating–10 years ago there was a stigma, but now it is totally accepted by people 40 and younger. 10 years from now, those who accept it will still accept it, and there will be 10 more years of acceptance of the product, which will make future consumers more willing to consider/accept it.

    That being said, the UFC is in a tough spot. Cain has no charisma, JJ has a horrible personality (not in the Floyd way, but in the “this guy is a weirdo douche bag and I am just uninterested in him” kind of way), Anderson/Weidman II will be great, Sonnen can draw (if he wins more), GSP is a draw, but below that weight, BJ Penn is the only proven draw in the company’s history. Hendricks, Rory, Condit, Ellenberger, etc are all going to have to figure out a way to become real stars. Vitor vs Chael would be a big fight. JJ has no money fights at 205 unless Cormier comes down. Aldo/Edgar/Bendo/etc suck at promos and don’t interest anyone.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I see where you’re both coming from, but you’re ignoring that football was available on broadcast tv pretty much from the get-go of broadcast/network tv and has always had traction from high school thru to university. College football games have been broadcast since the late 1930s and the NFL has had its entire regular season and playoffs on network TV since the ’60s. This whole it wasn’t popular or it was found distasteful until it got exposure is silly. The game was modernized in something like the 2nd decade of the 20th century when they changed the rules and allowed the forward pass. And it was popular regionally, but didn’t take off nationally until the 30’s, which has more to do with the advancement of the nation, technology and media than anything else…not some hokey generational critical mass theory. Yes, I am sure it plays a role, but it’s not like some going to be this big paradigm shifting catalyst for mma to become a top 5 sport.

      UFC getting onto tiered cable and having 4 cards a year on FOX with vast majority of the appealing fights being on PPV is NOT the same thing as football/baseball/basketball. MMA isn’t something that’s going to be played in high school and university and broadcast on different levels regionally and nationally where you create buy-in at a participant level in pop warner and work all the way up to the 18-49 demo. We have to face the fact that MMA is a niche sport, that has a strong following – but we all exist in this weird bubble of hardcores that go on the net and hunt down content on all the platorms and have convinced ourselves that everyone is like us. You’re not going to get generational critical mass for MMA like you did with football, basketball or baseball. Availability of entertainment options and fracturing of cable channels is just way to big a factor these days. Sorry, I just don’t see it happening.

      • david m says:

        Re: football, my point was that there was a time when it was a marginal sport, and it eventually made it into the mainstream. College football games may have been broadcast (do you mean tv or radio?) in the 1930s, but the game was around for a long time before that.

        As far as mma becoming a top 5 sport, team sports that represent cities will always have an edge over individuals fighting for themselves. MMA is certainly more a part of the American fabric now than it was even 3 years ago. All the little steps forward act as checkpoints. From Liddell being on the cover of ESPN Mag to the Rampage-Liddell II fight to Couture in the Expendables to Rampage in the A Team to GSP being the cover boy for Under Armor at Foot Locker stores all over to Anderson – Chael feud that really captured the sporting interest of the nation to Hughes v Royce to Rampage-Rashad feud to the Junior-Cain FOX fight, etc, mma has been making big strides towards being considered regular.

        MMA may never be as mainstream as basketball, but I wouldn’t call it quite a niche sport either, unless you view boxing and tennis and soccer as niche sports. Further, regardless of the nomenclature as it pertains to the word niche, that doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that younger people are far more accepting of mma than older people. If mma is not a fad, and if it is far more mainstream and accepted amongst younger people (it is), then the whole generational change thing is accurate. It doesn’t mean that mma is going to overtake the NFL any time soon, but it does mean that the sport should continue to grow.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          American football went through vast changes over the course of its existence up to the modern game, many of which weren’t seen by most because it had no professional element, was played in precious few colleges, etc etc etc. College Football was by far more popular than the NFL for probably most of the 20th century.

          Boxing and Tennis are certainly “niche sports”. And that it is accepted among present younger people doesn’t mean future generations will hold it in the same esteem.

        • david m says:

          You are certainly right that there is no way to know that future generations will hold mma (or football or anything else) in high esteem, but mma’s current popularity, mostly youth-driven, bodes well.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Why do people feel the need to try to compare football’s rise/evolution with mma’s? Modern football wasn’t played in the U.S. until 1907 or something like that and took off in the 30s. People were still getting around by horse and buggy and getting entertainment via radio – there was no such thing as being “mainstream”.

          Umm…Hughes fought Royce in 2006, Liddell was on the cover of ESPN and fought Rampage in 2007 and those arguably captured more attention than 99% of anything going on now – so what does that say? And Sonnen-Silva captured the sporting interest of the nation?! LOLWUT? The rematch didn’t even pull 1mm buys…you’re way overselling a lot of these checkpoints.

          “MMA may never be as mainstream as basketball, but I wouldn’t call it quite a niche sport either, unless you view boxing and tennis and soccer as niche sports.”

          This is clearly so wrong and U.S.-centric. Boxing, tennis and soccer are much bigger, particularly on a global scale. Soccer is a niche sport? C’mon man…maybe if we’re talking MLS-only.

        • david m says:

          Dude, I also compared mma’s rise with that of online dating, so don’t get too upset, lol.

          Sonnen-Silva was a big deal. I know lots of people who care nothing about mma who asked me about where I was going to watch the fight, what happened between them, etc. That fight was super mainstream. PPV buy numbers were really big, and it was also the biggest live gate in UFC Vegas history, by a wide margin, which speaks to the desire of people to pay marked-up prices to see the fight. I don’t know how one finds out how many people watched it at various bars charging cover, but the bar I went to probably had 400 people there, each paying cover.

          Re: other sports, yea, I am talking about America. UFC has a stronger brand than MLS. MMA may be more popular than boxing here too. It is hard to compare these things, of course.

  13. 45 Huddle says:

    Michael Chandler signed an extension with Bellator.

    The Eddie Alvarez thing has basically scared current talent into signing back with them… but it has also scared future talent from signing with them… Sure they might get a prospect here or there…. But have you seen some of their upcoming tournaments?

    The Light Heavyweight Summer Series was basically a loser brackets tournament from the previous one.

    The upcoming Middleweight & Lightweight Titles are not looking good at all. The Featherweight Tournament isn’t bad, but they put their two best fighters into the first round against each other.

    Going to Friday Nights won’t be good either.


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