Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” UFC Somehow Bounces Back After Bizarre 2012
By Joshua Molina
Somehow, some way, the UFC has turned the corner on its rough 2012 and could be experiencing another business boom.
After injuries and drug suspensions wrecked 2012, UFC has bounced back with strong TV and Pay Per View shows and has managed to rekindle its reputation as an “it” thing to talk about.
How did they UFC do this? It was both fate and good business sense.
The single-handed best business move the UFC has pulled off in recent years appears to be the acquisition and eventual closure of Strikeforce, and the signing of women’s great Ronda Rousey.
The buzz created by Rousey crossing over the UFC has brought new eyes to the sport and made others come back. Not only did she kick down the door for women’s MMA in the mainstream, but she is responsible for a huge rebirth of the sport overall.
She delivered on Pay Per View in her thrilling match with Liz Carmouche, drawing an estimated 450,000 Pay Per View buys, more than everyone else in the UFC, except for about for guys named Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen and Cain Velasquez.
Ever since Rousey’s arrival, the entire UFC has been on upward swing.
Fuel is getting its bet ratings ever thanks to UFC programming. The weigh-ins for the GSP vs. Nick Diaz fight drew 215,000 viewers. That’s more people than the number who watch most of the regular programming on that show.
Of course the GSP vs. Diaz fight is expected to draw about 850,000 Pay Per View buys. And it’s just going to get better.
Next month Jon Jones battles Chaels Sonnen for the light heavyweight championship. Sonnen is already in full pre-fight publicity mode and is doing what few other fighters dare to do — he’s talking trash about Jones.
Velasquez will fight Bigfoot Silva later this year, in what will draw big money again for the company. Anderson Silva also returns to fight Chris Wiedman, in a classic old guard vs. new guard battle.
Amid all of this, Gilbert Melendez will challenge Benson Henderson for the UFC Lightweight title on Fox on April 20. That fight will likely spark Fox’s biggest rating since the first Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos battle.
And Rousey will host the next season of The Ultimate Fighter against either Miesha Tate or Cat Zingano. Rousey on TV every week will be ratings gold for the UFC and push her next Pay Per View match in December well past th 600,000 Pay Per View buy mark.
They say competition is good, but in the UFC’s case, killing Strikeforce and luring its top stars was the best thing it could have done to revive its 2012 flat product.