Lotsa people are reading way too much into the UFC’s plan to start broadcasting a Spanish show called ‘El Octagono’ next week. Will it succeed? What will the impact be? Are they stupid to try this? All these questions would be a lot more interesting and relevant if the UFC didn’t ALREADY have a Spanish show called Guerreros Del UFC every week on Fox Sports en EspaÃ±ol.
Truth is, this show isn’t going to mean much in the grand scheme of things … it’s just another baby step forward in their quest for world expansion. It’s not like the show is gonna be expensive to make (it’s basically UFC Unleashed with a dark tan and more interviews in Spanish), and it’s not like it will really matter if the show tanks out or not. Best case scenario it serves as a nice lead into a new market. Worst case scenario it plants some seeds that might encourage young Hispanics to get into the sport. Either way, it’s not a sign the UFC is weakening, like old boxing guy Bob Arum would have you think:
“The reason Hispanic fans buy into it is the Hispanic fighters,” Arum said. “Brazilian is not Hispanic. Hispanic means Mexican, and how many good Mexicans, or Mexican Americans, do they have? Without that, there’s no interest. None.
“If you develop the Mexican stars, you can attract the younger Latino audience, but it seems as if that’s a long way from happening, and you don’t want to spend so much time on it that you lose your core audience: white, male, tattooed. . . .”
Arum said an endeavor like “El Octagono” fuels speculation that interest in UFC has reached a plateau. The company doesn’t release revenue figures, such as pay-per-view buys. “If this sport was so booming, this wouldn’t be happening,” Arum said.
Bob is right on the first count: until you start seeing more Mexicans in the Octagon, the sport is going to be a hard sell. Galavision (the channel El Octogono is gonna be on) is a Mexican cable channel, and most Mexicans couldn’t give a shit about what Brazilians or Americans are up to, no matter what language the fighters are reading off the teleprompter.
On the other hand, do I even have to explain why Bob Arum’s reasoning regarding expansion is moronic? How about I save some time and just call his doctor up … maybe Arum is about to have a stroke or something because his brain seems to be malfunctioning.