Those of us who were around during the dark ages of MMA have to pinch ourselves from time to time to make sure we’re not dreaming (or plugged into some sort of Matrix-like contraption, but that’s just my suspicion). After all, MMA has now gotten bigger than any of us could have ever imagined. I was at a mall down here in Tennessee and they had Dan Henderson shirts in Hot Topic, BJ Penn shirts at Wal Mart, and Matt Hughes shirts at Kohls. Just flipping through the channels over the holidays I managed to find MMA on a regular basis. That’s fucking nuts. When I tell people I’m an MMA blogger, people are no longer disgusted by the MMA part. The blogger bit still doesn’t get me laid much but I’m working on that.
I keep waiting for people to stop giving a shit and for MMA to hit sports fad status along with roller derbies and indoor soccer. But that doesn’t seem to be happening at all. In fact, the UFC’s momentum just keeps building and building. Check this out: Randy vs Brock ended up breaking a million buys, and now Dana is claiming that UFC 92 ‘crushed’ that event.
[ESPN] What are the ramifications of a Georges St.-Pierre win against BJ Penn? And what if Penn wins?
[Dana White] I’m not worried about that; I’m worried about the fight itself. I think it’s going to be the biggest fight we’ve ever done. The last Lesnar pay-per-view did really well, and then our Dec. 27 show crushed it.
When you say it crushed it, are we talking a million buys for Griffin/Evans?
I don’t want to get into numbers too muchâ€”that’s our policy. But it crushed it. I’ll say this: The Christmas show crushed the Lesnar fight by 150,000-175,000 buys.
Were you surprised by that?
No, I wasn’t surprised; I was happy. I was f’ing thrilled. We lowballed our preflight estimates on that card and were blown away. I think what happened was two things. One, it was a kick-ass card. Two, I think we were a little off because of the holidays. I guess everybody thought, you’re burnt out by everything, what do you want to do? You want to get back together with your buddies and watch some fights. We were crapping our pants when the calendar came up when we saw the last Saturday of the year fell two days after Christmas. Then the economy went down. We didn’t know exactly what to expect. But we were surprised by how well it did.
I’m not one of Dana’s PPV mad scientists, but you have to figure that GSP vs Penn has the potential to blow both UFC 91 and 93 out of the water. While those knuckleheads at ESPN might ignore it because it doesn’t feature Chuck or Brock, the hype of two pound for pound champions fighting in a coin toss match is going to be HUGE. What a great way for the UFC to start the year. Let’s hope they take these extra gains and sink them into more events, more exposure, and more fighters.