Dana White has released a new video blog in which he criticizes the media’s negative reaction to the low TV ratings that the UFC recently pulled for their ‘UFC On FOX 3’ event.
First a recap – ‘UFC On FOX 3’ drew an average of 2.4 million viewers in it’s Saturday night primetime slot, down from 5.7 million for ‘UFC On FOX 1’ and 4.7 million for ‘UFC On FOX 2’.
Naturally sites like ours wrote this up as a disappointing night for both the UFC and FOX despite the fact that they still won the night overall amongst males 18-49 even though they were comfortably outbeaten by a number of other stations in terms of overall audience.
In his video blog White goes after ‘The Wrestling Observer’s’ Dave Meltzer (who’s generally takes the lead in discovering and analyzing the UFC’s pay-per-view numbers) in particular for posting an article suggesting that the UFC needs to do better numbers on FOX to remain in it’s primetime slot.
White points out that Meltzer just lost his writing job with Yahoo! Sports (which is uncalled for if you asked me), but then goes on to make some valid points about the ratings on the night, noting that that the audience for a number of the programs which beat out the UFC on the night such as ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘NCIS’ consisted of mainly adults over the age of 55, and stresses the fact that the ‘UFC On FOX 3’ show beat out the competition for it’s key demographics.
He also notes that there were other factors at play on the night they broadcast the show such as the fact that it was a May holiday and ‘The Avengers’ movie was breaking records at the box-office – factors which contributed to 10 million less viewers on television that night than usual. To be fair though, I know that several other sites, including this one, mentioned those contributing factors at the time.
White does bring some good information to the table, but I would still stand by my own assessment that they numbers were low.
What White doesn’t mention is that despite all the factors he mentioned the big boxing pay-per-view between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Miguel Cotto that same night managed to pull in a hugely impressive 1.5 million buys.
That’s 100,000 more than were estimated to have purchased Manny Pacquiao Vs Juan Miguel Marquez III on the same night as ‘UFC On FOX 2’ earlier this year.
That suggests that despite all the circumstances surrounding the May 5th date boxing fans weren’t going to be swayed from watching the fight, while the UFC’s audience essentially halfed compared to it’s last outing on FOX, including in it’s key demographics.
Of course you can’t directly compare like-for-like here because for boxing Pacquiao and Mayweather are the sport’s two biggest stars, while the UFC have so far chosen not to unveil their big PPV hitters like GSP and Jon Jones on free TV so far.
I think if you look at the names on the ‘UFC On FOX 3’ card compared to ‘UFC On FOX 2’ one there is a decline in the ‘star power’ involved, and I believe that was a contributing factor to the ratings on the night that Dana has chosen not to mention.
The positive side of the night, which we stressed on this site at the time, is that the actual fights were great – clearly the best of three FOX shows so far – and that was a top priority. Hopefully ‘UFC On FOX 4’ in August can match that level of entertainment while reaching a wider audience.
Regardless of what Dana might say though, I must stress that we will continue to give you our honest assessment of the ratings in the future.
Watch the UFC president’s full thoughts on the matter in the video below.