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Any time the UFC fails to do great numbers, everyone starts flipping out. It’s the natural state of an MMA blog to frantically question all that happens, and I live in a wood-log style cabin made out of gold plated Porsches off of doing just that – over reacting to every incident in MMA with enough of an angle to do so, real or imagined. But this ‘oversaturation’ thing that some seem to think is going to kidnap, bugger, and murder our infant sport like a lazy-eyed stranger with candy … I just don’t buy it.

Bloody Elbow and Dave Meltzer (who’s pro wrestling roots probably have him worried he’s seeing another fad booming/busting) sum up the latest evidence of possible overexposure by pointing to the ratings for UFC 118’s countdown and prelim shows, plus average ratings on Versus for both WEC and the UFC on Versus featuring Unknown Prodigy vs Boring Russian Guy.

Sure, ratings and numbers are down for shows that aren’t promoted well, have crappy lineups, or don’t have the UFC label to prop themselves up. But that ignores the more important trend of impressive buys for not so impressive cards. Like 570k buys for UFC 118, which featured a rematch that only happened because BJ Penn sucked so hard the first time around and Randy Couture tapping a huckster.

UFC 117: 600k off the strength of a loudmouth idiot who talked some good trash. UFC 116 used Brock’s cocksworded chest to benchpress over a million buys. UFC 115 did over half a million buys for a late replacement fight between a guy who needs to retire versus a guy who’s been wandering the wilderness since Anderson Silva crushed him in 2007. The list goes on and on.

The fact is: good cards do well. And not ‘good’ in the Dana White spin sense that ‘all cards are good, even the ones with lineups that aren’t’. I mean events that people are excited to watch from the moment it’s fights are booked. This weekend’s card is probably not gonna sell, and ratings for UFC 120 might not be so hot. I’m sure that will push the current ‘hmmm’ attitude to a full blown ‘OMG WHO IS DRIVING BEAR IS DRIVING HOW CAN THIS BE?’ hysteria not seen since the 2009 Gypsy Curse days.

But instead of looking at some insidious trend underneath the surface, why not look at the crap on the surface instead? UFC 119 is going to get exactly what it deserves based on it’s lineup and the effort the UFC has put into promoting it. Ditto 120. Until the UFC starts limping on cards that should have strutted, I’m not going to worry too much.

There’s obviously issues the company needs to take care of, and they might want to tweak their strategy with Spike so there’s more time spent pushing people towards existing shows and events instead of just adding more events to the schedule. But I don’t see overexposure. Not yet, anyways.

  • shawn

    I concur.

    UFC 121 with Lesnar v. Velasquez is all but guaranteed to enter the top 5 UFC PPVs of all-time. 122 on Spike with Marquardt v. Okami could do pretty decent ratings if they push the “#1 Contender” angle the right way. 123 will probably be the first non-title PPV to do awesome numbers, considering the Rampage v. Machida and Hughes v. Penn 2 fights. 124 features GSP v. Kos so that will sell, and 125 is the New Year’s Day show that will kick ass, and will hopefully feature Silva v. Belfort.

    Just like Ryan said, the not-so-stacked shows aren’t going to do so well, and the ones that look awesome on paper will. Just so happens that right now as of late there are a few not-so-hot shows in a row. Doesn’t mean the sky is falling.

  • FiveBoltMain

    These non-title fights are nothing more than filler cards. That’s why they don’t sell well. But I would take a filler card over nothing any day of the week. Going 4 weeks w/o an event is tough enough, but imagine if they didn’t have filler cards. Two months w/o an event would suck donkey balls!

    Every year, their PPV numbers seem to get bigger. So how the hell can the market be over saturated? BE is a TOOL!

  • Omomatta

    What kind of a title is that for a thread Ryan? That’s spank tank title material bro.

    They’re still experiencing growing pains. And really…we’ve seen the same guys on countdown shows repeatedly. It’s like those 5 playboys you had under your bed when you were 12. At first you were rubbing yourself raw….then after time….she just started to look…….regular. Variety and excitement is key.

    Write that down Fivebolt.

  • Reverend Clint

    More spike cards full of these mediocre fighters and less $50 PPV cards no one wants.

  • shawn

    Clint: If there still putting them on, that means they’re still making money. 350k buys is now the low-end of the spectrum, but at $50 a pop the UFC is still making a hefty profit. Why give it away for free when they can earn a bunch of cash on PPV?

  • agentsmith

    Yet another “THE SKY IS FALLING” article by the douches at Bloody Elbow. *yawn*

  • andherewego

    MMA blogosphere themes that need to be retired:

    *THE SKY IS FALLING!!!! Every time the UFC puts on one single non-blockbuster main event

    *SEE! THIS PROVES THE UFC IS COPYING PRO RASSLIN’!!!! Every time something happens in MMA that might be in some way connected to something that happened in pro wrestling at some point over the past 100 years, no matter how irrelevant it is to the grand scheme of things.

    *DANA WHITE SAID (INSERT DANA’S OPINION) ABOUT (TOPIC A), but back in 2002, he said (OPPOSITE OPINION) ABOUT (TOPIC B)!!! He’s fight promoter, not a politician

    *Any post by Jonathan Snowden or Zach Arnold that tries too hard to be edgy or controversial for the sake of being edgy or controversial

  • Reverend Clint

    it gets more people a chance to watch the UFC and promotes them better than a PPV where 700K people are gonna watch vs 2 million

    im not saying mave one free card for ever PPV but maybe have more than like 4 FN and a couple even worse TUF finales.

  • FiveBoltMain

    Shawn is right (who would have thought of that). 350k buys at $50 is 17.5 million. Divide it in half and the UFC walks away with 8.75 million. SPIKE isn’t going to pay the UFC that kind of money to put a card on their network. So why give it away for free when you can make close to 9 million bucks?

  • FiveBoltMain

    Haven’t there been studies done that say that on average, 4 people watch a PPV card. So if 700k is the buy rate, then 2.8 million watched the fight. Spike gets 2 million on average, so the UFN are still not pulling in enough viewers compared to the 700k cards.

  • Bump

    Boring wrestlers are a bigger threat than oversaturation. We all know wrestling can win fights, but its fucking boring to watch. If that is the future, there is trouble on the horizon. IMO.

  • subo

    You’re such a faggot, Subo.

    Oh, wait!

  • superflat

    New to the blog, so hi. Thought I’d add my two cents:

    I agree, but I think the most important point is being left out of the discussion entirely, which is that, historically, the potential market for fight sports is FAR larger than it is now. Boxing, remember, used to be one of the most — if not the most — popular sport on Earth. We’re talking near Super Bowl numbers for big fights. Granted these fights were on broadcast, but I think that misses just how vastly more popular boxing once was than MMA is now.

    The most popular sports lose and gain less die-hard fans from game to game, but their baseline numbers are so high that they’re raking it in regardless. At this point the UFCs combined die-hard and casual fanbases are small enough that you really notice a few tens of thousands fans coming and going.

    But, the UFC’s ambitions are obviously to recapture what boxing once had. Yes, they need to refresh their production, reevaluate their cable programming, and so on, but really these fluctuations in buy rate can’t be concerning them too much when they’ve barely penetrated what they seem to envision is their potential market.

  • frickshun

    When a PPV does poorly, Dana throws himself a pity party by buying himself a fucking McLaren F1.

  • repenttokyo

    haha BEAR IS DRIVING! been a long time since I thought about that.


  • Reverend Clint

    you know what oversaturated? Fricks ass with cocks

  • shawn


  • Omomatta

    Come on Shawn….everyone knows Frick loves getting a train run on him. It’s just those girlish hips.