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Everyone is talking about the UFC’s poopy ratings

UFC on FOX 3 ratings were down a whoppin 50% compared to UFC on FOX 2, and while MMA sites should be given a cookie for not declaring the sky is falling, there was still a lot of hay made about the numbers. I guess we’re still suffering from an inferiority complex and are worried the relationship with our hot new girlfriend Megan FOX is gonna end up on the rocks. Lorenzo Fertitta made one of his rare calculated appearances to talk down the cruddy numbers:

“Would we like to see the numbers be trending differently? Yes, of course,” Fertitta said. “But we’re not concerned and we don’t think it’s an overall reflection of our business. There are reasons for it. If you think about it, for the first [Fox] fight we had a massive amount of promotion within the NFL on Fox. And we led with our big show, the heavyweight championship, so of course, we were going to draw a much broader range of viewers.

“The fight in January in Chicago actually performed pretty well, even though it was a little below the first one. It was still super solid. This last show, I’d say it was a moderate performance. Really, what we’re looking at is, ‘How did we rank within the competition compared to what was going on that night?’ And in hindsight, going on Cinco de Mayo may not have been the best thing to do.”

Not so subtle and calculated was Dana White, who created a video blog devoted to blasting reporter Dave Meltzer for basically saying the same thing everyone else was about the ratings. After making fun of Meltzer for getting fired from Yahoo (something that has infinitely more to do with Yahoo going down the toilet than Dave), he got into the nitty gritty of how the ratings broke down:

HUT levels mean total viewers watching television that night were down almost 10 million from the first Fox show that we did, down almost 10 million viewers. 10 million people weren’t home watching TV that night. Well, it was Cinco de Mayo. The Avengers came out, which was you know the biggest opening in movie history. And one other thing – the NBA Playoffs that night that went off right around the same time we did, it was the San Antonio/Utah game, we beat them across the board in every way, shape, and form you can beat them. Right? Do you see the writers, uh, that cover the NBA going out there and going, ‘Oh my God, it’s doom and gloom, what’s going to happen to the NBA?’ Because if we beat them and our situation is so bad, what does that say for the NBA?

I’m not sure exactly what everyone was expecting from this card. From the moment they announced Nate Diaz vs Jim Miller was going to be the main event I figured it was a given that ratings would be nowhere near the first and second FOX shows. The card was devoid of wow factor to the point where I figured this might be an experiment to see how a UFC Fight Night level card would fare on broadcast television.

If that was the plan, now we know and knowing is half the battle. If it wasn’t and the UFC actually thinks a better caliber card still would have performed as badly due to the Hulk and Iron Man … well then maybe we should be worried.

What we’ve learned from the first three FOX cards tells the UFC everything they need to know if they want to keep things growing on this new broadcast platform they’ve waited so long to get on. Mega fights draw in the people while the unsung heroes of the promotion deliver the goods. The UFC proved they knew that already when they booked Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos for their first show with Benson Henderson vs Clay Guida as a warm up. Unfortuantely, some FOX penis convinced them to devote the entire event to fighters who almost never leave the first round and a potential Griffin vs Bonnar moment was averted.

There’s no shortage of fights that practically guarantee fireworks, but there has been a shortage in marquee battles that will bring in droves of eyes. With the past two years being a nightmare of injuries, steroid suspensions, and other gypsy curse-related disasters, I can forgive the UFC a little if they try to save some of these fights for PPV events. But if they want to avoid more meh ratings and the media freakouts that go along with them, they’ll have to do better than UFC on FOX 4’s current Brian Stann vs Hector Lombard headline fight. There’s no Avengers level movie that weekend to blame any bad ratings on.

  • Ron Jeremy

    I have a friend who I introduced UFC around UFC 92. He doesnt know all the old school moments. He never knew the Chuck Liddel  days, the Tito days, the Hughes ect… He watched the older shows but after the fact.

    He constatly complains that half the cards are shit in terms of big fights. In his eyes most of the cards are watered down. He watches old cards and he points out on those cards most of the televised fights are big fights.

    When he saw Diaz vs Miller, first thing he said is, this is like a B card. Not because of the quality of fights, its more about the name recognition. One of his friends which discovered UFC very recently asked if cards in PPV are like what he watched on Fox.

    I am wondering if the numbers would be  better if there were less shows a year but stronger cards. Is it even possible given the size of their fighter roster? The trend is more and more fights a year. What will it look like in 2015?

  • kwagnuth

    Dana has got his panties all up in a bunch he needs to unclench and let it go.

  • ThePooperProtagonist

    I think its poetic.

    dana shits on MMA fans for rasslin fans,

    MMA fans lose interest in rasslin style MMA,

    rasslin style MMA fans lose interest in MMA style rasslin,

    …come uppance!

  • variable

    Stay classy Dana

  • Giallo

    Who gives a fuck about ratings, no fight fan should be complaining about that shit. last weekend was a god damned good card, don’t wanna watch cause one of the five big names you actually know isn’t fighting…your lose fuck you.

  • Ron Jeremy

    I agree

  • agentsmith

    When he saw Diaz vs Miller, first thing he said is, this is like a B
    card. Not because of the quality of fights, its more about the name
    recognition.

    The funny part is UFC on Fox 2 had much bigger names like Rashad and Bisping and Sonnen, but the fights generally sucked.  UFC on Fox 3 had no big names, but the fights were great.  I’m sure those who watched it were pleased, but I bet quite a few people who watched the last one found something better to do this time, and ended up missing out.

  • frickshun

    Leddy–>how the hell could they mess that up?!?!

  • theinsaneoneJustinMcCully

    I would like to see this stuff on Hulu or the Xbox app.  Regular TV just doesn’t appeal to my circle anymore.

  • iamphoenix

    when you say circle you mean asshole right?

  • Doogie Howser, M.D.

    Ryan – I’m fairly sure the headliner for UFC on Fox 4 is Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader … that would certainly be a better fit than Stann/Lombard.  By the way, when the fuck am I going to see Brian Stann take on that cunt Bisping in the States on an American holiday?

     

    Frickshun – Leddy Jeremy is having you on.  Check dates/PPV nos and the real giveaway … fighter records.

     

    While I agree with the argument about bringing new fans to the sport, how on earth can actual fans ever complain about more (free) UFC?  And when my face was crushed, why did it go back to my old face?  I mean, shouldn’t it have turned into some kind of third face that was different?  Don’t make no sense.

  • agentsmith

    Ryan – I’m fairly sure the headliner for UFC on Fox 4 is Lyoto Machida
    vs. Ryan Bader …

    Nope.

  • iamphoenix

    I thought Doogie Howser MD was Frick. I r so confused.

  • frickshun

    Nope. But he did make a lame Simpsons reference that nobody got :(

  • Doogie Howser, M.D.

    Agentsmith – Apologies. I even double-checked before writing anything. Stupid Wiki lied to me. Or I’m not very smart. One of the two.

    Frickshun – Fuck you! The fishmonger thought it was funny. If you get that reference, you earn a quadrillion points and my undying love and respect.  Anyway, you got my lame Simpsons reference – I touched your life. Are you just upset because Leti tricked you with one of his clever pictures?

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