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Believe it or not, Kimbo Slice is the measuring stick in mixed martial arts (MMA). No, not the fighting itself, but rather the ratings it can garner when exposed to a wide audience.
Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, headlined the first major event held on network television when he squared off against James Thompson for EliteEX on May 31, 2008.
That show brought in an average of 6.12 million viewers and peaked at 6.51 million for the main event.
Kimbo being the ratings draw that he is managed to do five million viewers for the episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 in which he fought Roy Nelson. With the UFC marketing machine behind him, he nearly outdrew himself on cable.
Now imagine how many people would tune into a UFC promoted bout on one of the biggest network television channels that featured the two best heavyweights in the entire sport fighting for the division championship.
Executives at FOX Sports are hesitant to make any bold predictions but that's what Dana White is doing and on top of seeing dollar signs, he envisions they are going to blow Kimbo's numbers out of the water.
"One of my golden rules is never predict ratings because it's a zero sum game," remarked David Hill, Chairman of FOX Sports. "If I was a betting man, which I am, I'd probably put a couple of bucks on the fact that we will (do better than Kimbo vs. Thompson)."
Modest but confident, as one would expect from such a successful man. Dana White, on the other hand, was his usual brash self in assessing the situation.
"I'm not going to be too cocky here and trump what David Hill said, but I'll tell you right now, I'm expecting to blow that number out of the water," he commented.
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight championship against Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson and Kimbo Slice vs. Roy Nelson.
Who wins in the ratings? And what's your best guess as to how many viewers will tune into UFC on FOX 1 on Sat., Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET?