I am a big fan of mixed martial arts, specifically Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I am also a realist, so the claims made recently by UFC president Dana White raised my eyebrow when I read them.
“I still don’t consider us mainstream,” White said. “We’ve been on Fox for a year, holding our numbers. We’re in 175 countries. We just went into China for the first time. The fight that we did [last November] in Macao was the biggest fight they’ve ever had in China. We’re bigger than the NFL globally, but nothing’s bigger than the NFL in this country."
I don't believe for one second that UFC is bigger than the NFL globally. In fact, articles I have read recently about the sport suggest it is in a bit of a slump and that its ratings and pay-per-view buyrates have fallen steadily over the last two years.
UFC is in the second year of its deal with Fox Sports, which will see UFC programing air on Fox, FX, Fuel and Fox Sports Net. 'Ultimate Fighter' has also been given a great time spot on FX, where it will serve as 'Justified's' lead-in. But thus far, the broadcasts on Fox have done poorly, ratings wise.
“Ultimate Fighter is a very important television show for [UFC],” said White. “There’s a lot of misconceptions about the sport and the people who compete in it. When we bought the company one of our big challenges was we wanted to get this thing on free television. When we bought the company, it wasn’t even allowed on Pay Per View. I would definitely like to be as big as the NFL someday."
What do you think? Is UFC bigger than the NFL globally? Can it top it in America?