Next to testosterone replacement therapy and Nick Diaz, the UFC’s declining ratings on the Fox network of channels is the hottest topic in MMA — much to UFC president Dana White’s annoyance.
The UFC boss has maintained that the flat ratings simply don’t tell the whole story of how the UFC is doing in their big deal with Fox (and he let us know exactly how he feels about those who don’t get that). He reiterated his stance in a recent conversation with the L.A. Times.
“None,” said White when asked if Fox had expressed any concern for their flagging ratings. “Listen, before us, the ads sold to television audiences on Saturday nights were Poligrip [denture adhesive] and [adult] diapers. We’ve brought the 18-34 male crowd that never used to watch TV on Saturday, and when they say our fights on [Fox cable network] Fuel are slipping, we had double our early audience of the same fights on Fox Deportes. As for [‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on] FX, our 2010 prelims on Spike [TV] were at 1.4 million [viewers], and the last one was at 1.6 million, and growing every prelim.”
He also reinforced his idea that the majority of the MMA media are missing the point when it comes to the UFC’s performance on Fox, that they don’t understand the nuances of television ratings well enough to cast such a gloomy shadow over the promotion.
“The real story is, what do the Internet reporters know? When they say Fox made a big bet on the UFC, and now it’s tanking … it’s not,” he said. “It’s given Fox an audience it never had before. [Research] shows 3.9 million new viewers to Fox networks in the last three months, [more] new women viewers, and UFC on Fox 1 had a higher composition of Latino viewers than the big four sports leagues.”
The UFC’s most recent fight card for Fox — UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller — was by far the promotion’s most entertaining offering on the network yet, but drew the lowest numbers out of the Fox events they’ve promoted so far. Their next show for the network is scheduled for this August and will feature a middleweight bout between Brian Stann and Hector Lombard at the top of the card.