As there are a lot of UFC fans who take Dana White's word as the gospel truth, I thought I'd fire off some stats that I compiled from various websites detailing PPV buys and TV viewership. Since Dana stated that the UFC will be bigger than the Superbowl and that it is far more popular than soccer, I thought I'd let the numbers speak for themselves as opposed to following someone who may be on their farewell tour.....so throw those rose coloured glasses away as stats don't lie.
Ok - this isn't a hate Dana White thread. In fact, it may be the opposite as the UFC certainly must realize that there is a disturbing trend occurring since 2010 which should prompt change. So let's look at the info first.
PPV Buys 2006 - Present
I've compiled the data from 2006 onward, mainly because of sheer laziness as this was easier to retrieve as compared to spending the entire morning on the internet on a day off. I have yard work waiting for me which is more important.
The first chart shows the 2006 - present PPV buy data including a trend line to support the actual popularity of the UFC and not MMA.
The second chart breaks this period out to 2006 - 2009. The reason I chose this is because UFC popularity appears to peak in 2009. There are a lot of reasons for this; popularity of freaks like Lesnar, GSP was a top draw and had two high level fights in 2009, and the milestone of UFC 100.
The third chart shows the decline of UFC event popularity from 2010 onward. I did not include last weeks dismal event as I'm sure that it would further support what is already evident.
What could account for the stagnation and decline? Is it over-saturation of events? Was Frankie Edgar solely responsible for this? Is it related to the spike of injuries plaguing some of these cards? Is it the fact that a PPV event was completely cancelled? Or is it due to the fact that this was also the era of un-earned title fights? I personally know of quite a few MMA fans who have been there from the inception of MMA who became tired of this and were actually turned off by the UFC. Again, this is based on a small population of MMA fans who have chosen to view other MMA venues including smaller showcase events which are certainly more exciting than the rinse and repeat cycle which the UFC became during this timeframe.
UFC on Fox
Here is the UFC on Fox data since the UFC secured a deal with Fox. Dana thought this would be the best thing ever and that UFC popularity would soar to the heavens.
The results are in millions of viewers. Well, Dana must have been impressed after the first two events but then things stagnated and soured. Perhaps this met or exceeded UFC expectations.
UFC Fight Night
Let's view the UFC Fight Night charts - I never missed a single event. None of the die hards missed a single event.
You cannot dispute the downward trend. Again, I broke this data to 2009 to show how popularity was still increasing.
Now the 2010 to present data shows the steady decline.
So, what can one say after viewing all of this info? Well, it could be stated that MMA is a sport which has refined tastes. Not everyone can understand the techniques, skill, strategy, or evolution that MMA has taken. The UFC attempted to bring this into the mainstream, which is great for die-hard fans but for those with the just bleed mentality, it may not cut it. Bad fights and bad cards have had a negative effect against the UFC. I personally think that the UFC needs a shake up to succeed or improve on what has been built. All companies do this and it is time for the UFC to recognize the trend and react. Bellator did, now maybe the UFC has to take a hard look and do something. WMMA did not do it, they have lost stars which were PPV draws, the TRT debacle is killing them, and their current champions do not have the same following of previous fighters. Time is ticking - the longer they wait, the more fans they may lose.
Here is your obligatory tit shot.