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The rating game: DREAM perhaps on life support, UFC turning Japanese and more

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First, EliteXC goes underwhelms on July 26 for its second CBS offering of "Saturday Night Fights."

The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) released the ticket sale information, showing roughly a third of all tickets were sold -- with a hefty chunk being comped and the rest going into the nearest recycling bin.

Television draws a relatively abysmal 2.5 to 3 million viewers. Gary Shaw and Doug DeLuca "resign" to consult.

Then Dave Meltzer reports that Affliction lost millions from its first foray into mixed martial arts on July 19. In spite of a solid event, pay-per-view (PPV) numbers are alleged to be (at best ... and possibly a big stretch) 100,000 buys. Good, but a far cry from the 250-300,000 buys Affliction needed to possibly break even.

Rumor has it, in fact, Affliction honcho Tom Atencio is already asking fighters to take a 50 percent pay cut for its sophomore effort in Las Vegas later this year.

However, at least on of its most talented assets -- victorious Affliction "Banned" fighter Josh Barnett -- has already made a public statement that his answer will be "NO" if indeed asked.

Now Japan's DREAM (or PRIDE II, as some fans see it) is finding itself in the same murky waters. Dismal ratings have left many officials banking on its September 23 event as make-or-break for the company.

And that hardship couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the UFC, who not coincidentally has just signed a new pay-per-view contract with Japan's WOWOW PPV company.

Here's an excerpt from explaining the partnership:

"We finally signed a contract with the UFC on July 11. I knew this news had been rumored before we officially announced it. We used to air the UFC. We wanted to maintain our contract, but unfortunately the negotiations were broken off and we stopped broadcasting after the UFC 70 in April, 2007. They approached us again in 2008. We were planning to show the UFC in HD starting April of 2007; although the UFC terminated the contact. I remember we were very surprised and disappointed. We are basically going to show all numbering events. Their PPV packages are 3 hours. We will condense into 2 hours by picking up 5 to 6 fights."

It seems that while every non-Zuffa promotion is struggling to keep its head above water, Dana and company are in cruise-control with the top down on the war wagon.

Still, one thing the UFC doesn't have is all of the world's best fighters. Though the way things are going for other promotions, that may just be a matter of time.


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