Fighters Only is claiming that the UFC is in the middle of a big promotional push in Japan, with the latest example of this being a tape delayed showing of UFC Fight Night 21 on TV Tokyo featuring Takanori Gomi, Caol Uno, and Yushin Okami:
The broadcast did a rating of 4 – 6%, which yields 1.4 Million homes to 2.1 Million homes. That is approximately 2.5 persons per household and equates to somewhere between a low of 3.5 Million viewers and a high of 5.25 Million viewers.
To put those figures into perspective consider that DREAM 13, which aired on March 24th in a late night slot, earned a paltry 1.0% rating. Its previous show, also late night, did 1.7 per cent. DREAM has exceeded the 4% mark five times in 14 shows although it has occasion reached 10,12 and even 16% in the past.
So the UFC’s primetime ratings are good … but only good compared to DREAM’s ratings in a shitty late night time slot. When DREAM has it’s own primetime slot, it usually pulls between 9 and 13 percent (with numbers nearer to 9 being considered not good enough). Still, the fact that the UFC can get a decent slot on a decent channel is a vast improvement over their other deal with satellite channel WOWOW, which has about the same amount of subscribers as UFC Fight Night had viewers on TV Tokyo.
Could this signal the UFC’s returning interest in Japan? I would certainly hope so. Dana White has been adamant that nothing is going to keep him out of markets he wants to get into, but since Zuffa took it in the bung with that PRIDE deal they haven’t exactly been gushing about their prospects there. Most of the time when Japan is referenced, it sounds like there’s a yakuza waiting in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in their ass if they try.