Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz might have more than one million reasons to disagree with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson.
Regardless, "Smooth" prefers the massive exposure that comes along with competing in front of millions of fans on the FOX television rather than potentially getting a share of pay-per-view (PPV) buys the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion dishes out to its top stars.
Indeed, Henderson doesn't care much about all the PPV "crap," preferring to showcase his skills in front of a much broader mainstream audience -- like the close to 6 million folks who tuned in to see him defeat Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5 in Dec. 2012.
Henderson breaks it down (via MMAFighting.com):
"(I felt) probably pretty much the same, but it was taken very well. I did a pretty good job. I earned a 'W.' But, just the number of people who tuned in for the main event, 5.5 million, that's a lot of people. That smashes any pay-per-view numbers. A lot of guys talk about pay-per-view buys. I don't give a crap about pay-per-view stuff. I like fighting on the biggest platform and FOX is that platform. I'm excited to be on FOX for the second time in a row. I think that it shows the trust the UFC top brass and the FOX top brass have in me. They think I'll portray the sport in the right manner. I think it's the cool to have that bigger platform. 5.5 million viewers and the core demographic of males, but it's great to be watched by soccer moms who are flipping channels, they stop and watch and become fans. I go to the grocery store now, 50-year-old soccer moms say, 'I saw you on TV.' I really dig that, and it only happened after being on that big of a platform."
As Nick Diaz loses the support of soccer moms in traffic, "Bendo" is gaining them at the grocery store. And he will look to add a few more to his middle-class feminine fan club when he headlines his second straight event on FOX against Gilbert Melendez -- who might turn a few heads himself if he looks like this -- on April 20, 2013 in the UFC on Fox 7 main event.
And while top earners such as the aforementioned St. Pierre and Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones -- who have proven to be the top box office draws for Zuffa and earn tiered percentages on PPV buys -- might prefer to be the kings of PPV, "Smooth" prefers to stick to the promotional benefits of free television.
While a debate can be conducted as to which platform is more valuable over the short-term, the exposure that comes with fighting on FOX, as well as the blue-chip sponsors it attracts, could tip the scales in a popular fighter's favor. Experienced managers or accountants likely know the winning formula, especially when other extra "bonus" income is entered into the equation as a wild card.
Either way, for Henderson it's all about the exposure ... not the Benjamins.