UFC Going Global
When most people think of the UFC, they think of a global brand owned by Dana White and the Ferreira brothers. But what if I told you it didn’t start that way? In fact, it took a lot of hardship to make it into the global force we know today.
The UFC was first founded in 1993. It started by putting on bouts infrequently on pay-per-view. Meaning that they would only do one or two events a month. This was in part to having little to no money to be able to hold and produce events.
The idea initially for the UFC was a fun exhibition fight league (at one point, they had a little person facing off against a sumo wrestler.) the initial point was to cater to teenage boys’ propensity for gore and violence. From exhibition fights to where it is now, it has certainly come a long way.
It also faced criticism from several in Congress, including Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. In a statement to Congress, McCain noted that the Gore and violence used in the UFC were harmful to children given that they were impressionable.
He went on to state that the UFC should be banned in all 50 states and even went as far as to compare it to human cockfighting. But through it all, the UFC never wavered.
In fact, the UFC even increased in popularity throughout the early 2000s with fighters like Georges St-Pierre and cowboy Cerrone. The UFC fighters are so very loved by their audience that they even crossover into movies; some of these martial artists include Randy couture and rampage Jackson.
Heck, even their announcers are popular, the most popular one being announcer Joe Rogan. Rogan initially began with the UFC by happenstance. Rogan was a fan of the UFC for a long time before he joined the company.
He then went to an event and just so happened to sit next to owner Dana white. White was impressed with Rogan‘s knowledge of the sport and hired him right then and there, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Don’t even get me started on their endorsement deals. Depending on the fighter, any endorsement deal that the UFC arranges can often lead to a lucrative sum of money for the company. In 2021 the UFC made approximately $1 billion on endorsement deals collectively. Not to mention their deals with network channels to broadcast their content.
UFC and ESPN
Currently, the UFC is in the last year of its contract with the sports network ESPN, and that contract equates to $1.5 billion long-term. When asked how he felt about entering into a partnership with ESPN after former President John Skipper left the company due to his cocaine habit being used as leverage against him.
White said: I’ve known him (ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro) a long time. He’s a great dude, and he loves the UFC. Now you got him, you got a guy named Kevin Mayer, who is really close to ari. We ended up doing the ESPN deal when our deal was up,”
In conclusion, I could go on about how the UFC is even bigger, but do not make you feel asleep, I will stop here.
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