https://youtube.com/watch?v=pnDHwXwIK1g

UFC president Dana White is known for his expletive laced outbursts, and in this video posted on the UFC Youtube page, he didn’t stray far from his usual formula. In the video, White went after former Yahoo MMA writer Dave Meltzer, who talked about the poor ratings for UFC on Fox 3 on the MMA Show with Mauro Ranallo last week and wrote an article about the ratings problems. White specifically went after Meltzer’s firing from Yahoo!, suggesting he’d write an article about ways for Meltzer to keep his job with the company.

White then explicitly broke down the ratings for the show, talking about how the shows that Kevin Iole (again, of Yahoo) said beat the UFC in the ratings (Shark Tank, NCIS) had average viewer ages that were nowhere near the UFC’s target demographics. The average viewer age for the UFC show was 39, and the UFC won the ratings race for every demographic they were targeting, most notably the young and middle-aged male demographics as White proclaims.

While White does have points in his ranting, it’s typical spin from a company head. White can spin the numbers all he wants, but the fact of the matter is viewership for the third Fox show decreased by a large amount. While one of White’s points is a total loss of 10 million television viewers on Cinco de Mayo in comparison to the night of the previous Fox show, the total viewers for UFC dropped by nearly 2.5 million. While the majority of people likely celebrating would be in the UFC’s target demographics, would 25% of them actually be watching the show? That’s a stretch.

A lot of those younger viewers are also in the NBA’s target demographic. White touted that the UFC beat the NBA playoff game that night between the Spurs and Jazz it was going up against. He apparently neglected the same factors that knocked UFC’s ratings down also knocked down the NBA’s ratings. That, and the comparison of network TV (UFC) to cable TV (NBA), really makes White’s argument look silly.

The UFC has a show tonight on Fuel TV, the redheaded stepchild of cable networks. The card lacks starpower, but is loaded with fights that have a high potential of being exciting. Based on previous numbers UFC has drawn on Fuel, this show probably won’t get huge ratings. The Ultimate Fighter on FX is getting the worst ratings that the show has ever seen as well. White can paint the ratings in whatever way he wants, but quite frankly, UFC’s TV ratings have suffered since signing the Fox deal. The pay-per-view buyrates have still been solid however, even without top draws Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre in action. The UFC isn’t doomed by any means, but things have been going in the wrong direction on network and cable TV lately. The organization is going to need to build more stars that will appeal to that TV audience because right now, the ratings draws that they have are few and far in between.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.