Although I’m just as much of a sucker for a nice list as anyone else, I’ve got a little bit of issue with the numbers thrown out by the MMA Payout guys re : the most watched MMA fights in history.
1 Kimbo Slice v. James Thompson – 6.51 million
2 Quinton Jackson v. Dan Henderson – 5.93 million
3 Tito Ortiz v. Ken Shamrock III – 5.89 million
4 Robbie Lawler v. Scott Smith – 5.53 million
5 Gina Carano v. Kaitlin Young – 4.68 million
The first problem is that this list doesn’t take Asia into account. Now I know most of you think they’re all too busy bowing, taking pictures, and being perverts, but Asia is kinda huge and they loves them their mixed martial arts. While I’m still waiting for Zach Arnold and Jordan Breen to email me back with confirmation, I think it’s safe to say that most of the fights above wouldn’t even be in the top 10 if you include how many people watch fights in Japan and Korea on New Years Eve.
Next up, try to remember that watching MMA is a social activity. You’re not going to find many people ponying up $50 on their own to watch the show in their basement. One PPV sale does not equal 1 person watching. I’d be interested in knowing how big the average group is watching MMA … I’d assume it’s probably somewhere between 4-6 people. And that doesn’t take into account the huge number of people watching out at bars and the like. This probably skews the data some more.
Last but not least, we live in a pirate age. My bet is that a good 30% of potential customers out there regularly STEAL events via black boxes, satellite hacks, and of course torrents. Let’s also not forget that Youtube plays a huge role in visibility. It wouldn’t surprise me if that minor league double knockout from a few weeks back actually beats most of the fights on the above list.
Anyways, I know I’m nitpicking to a certain degree and the list was mainly to show how fights ranked in terms of American TV viewership. But I wanted to put this disclaimer out there before people started acting the fool by using these stats to try and justify dumbass opinions.