As far as I can tell, these comments came first in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on July the 8th 2009. I believe It was on Dec 27th 2009, in the Las Vegas Sun, that Dana said "UFC will be the biggest sport in the world by 2020". So with less than nine years to make good on these bold predictions, how do you think the UFC, or rather, the sport of MMA is actually doing?
In all honesty, I realize this may be a tired and worn subject, but it's just a fanpost, so deal with it. Anyway, I'm not sure how to actually quantify how fast the sport is growing across the globe, but I cant help but notice the number of MMA training centers that are popping up all over the United States. Look, I live in a very small town, we have one Mcdonald's, and no Walmart, yet we now have a new MMA training facility. In the "big town" next to us, (that has two Mcdonald's and a Walmart) they now have three MMA gyms.
So, out of curiosity, I started looking for MMA gyms in random cities, and came across a site that locates and rates gyms across the U.S. For the record, I have no idea who those guys are. Anyway, I was surprised by the number of gyms that would come up in EVERY search. I even tried scrolling the google map to some arbitrary, TX border town and bing, here are the top twenty MMA schools in the area. Okay, I did this for longer than I care to admit, but I could not find a city where there was not at least 2 or 3 schools within driving distance.
The point being, while Dana may be too optimistic, if MMA schools continue to grow at the current rate, what will the talent, and fan base look like in 2020, and could MMA and the UFC be knocking on the NFL's door?