Mixed martial arts is often tagged as “the fastest growing sport in the world” and its preeminent brand, the UFC, is constantly looking for ways to expand their business and increase exposure of the sport in markets all over the world — and, so far, they’ve done a pretty bang up job.
It’s almost remarkable to look back and see how much progress the sport has made — largely by the efforts of the UFC — in just ten years; UFC stars are appearing in crossover media appearances and more and more mainstream sports news sources are carrying coverage of MMA. But don’t let UFC president Dana White hear you call MMA mainstream or you’ll likely catch an ear-full.
“We’re not mainstream,” White said on today’s UFC on FOX media conference call. “Mainstream is when you walk down the street of any major city anywhere and ask them if they know what basketball is. That is mainstream. What we’re getting here is the opportunity from FOX to become mainstream. Like I said when we announced this deal, we’re not sitting around patting ourselves on the back going, ‘Lookit, we made it.’ Now’s the time to work, now’s the time to deliver. Everything we’ve done in the last ten years — we actually need to step it up a level and deliver even bigger and better now that we’re on the number one network in the country. And believe me when I tell you, you guys are gonna see a lot of changes in the way the shows are run, the production — everything is going to the next level. We’ve been given this opportunity and you bet your ass we’re gonna take it.”
And deliver they will. On the call, White announced that the main event for the UFC’s debut on FOX will be an almost surefire barnburner between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasque and challenger Junior dos Santos. That bout is to take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Noevember 12. Tickets go on sale next Friday.