NBC's huge ratings for the 2012 London Olympics may have UFC President Dana White shaking in his boots as the league prepares to bounce back from its dismal "UFC on Fox 3" draw on May 5.
"UFC on Fox 3" drew just 2.25 million viewers, way down from the 4.57 million that tuned in for the Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis tilt for "UFC on Fox 2," and even further below the 4.64 million mark set by the Cain Velasquez vs Junios dos Santos main event at "UFC on Fox 1."
Some in the MMA community chocked the low ratings up to "UFC on Fox 3" falling on the same night as Cinco de Mayo - a night that historically is one where folks don't stay home watching television - or other excuses like Dan Miller and Nate Diaz not being top-drawing fighters.
Dana White's Take
"UFC on Fox 4," which features four elite light heavyweights - Lyoto Machida, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Ryan Bader and Brandon Vera - in the main and co-main events, should have no such excuses. The event doesn't fall on a holiday, and there is nothing else really going on at that time that should draw the average sports fan away from the telecast.
The only thing in its path is the London Olympics, and historically, the second Saturday evening of each Olympic games, is one of the top-drawing nights of the event.
"There's no doubt the Olympics are kicking a** this year," Dana White said at the 'UFC on Fox' 4 pre-fight presser on Aug. 2. "They're pulling in huge ratings, big numbers, and we're definitely aware of that. We're going up against some tough competition on Saturday night. No doubt about it."
Should the UFC be worried about losing their audience this Saturday to sports fans who would rather watch the Olympics?
In my view, Dana White has no reason to be concerned. The UFC often goes toe-to-toe against legit sporting events, ranging from playoff baseball to the NBA postseason. There are always going to be various sports on, and there's no way around it.
But if you're an MMA fan, there's no way you are going to be tuned in to the Olympics on Saturday night. The main and co-main events of the "UFC on Fox 4" card both have title implications on the line, and feature some of the best guys in the sport. It's rare that a "free" MMA card is stacked with top-level talent like the "UFC on Fox 4" card.
According to NBCOlympics.com, the Olympics television schedule for Aug. 4 includes beach volleyball on NBC, a men's volleyball game between Brazil and Serbia on the NBC Sports Network, and an NBC Primetime card starting at 8 p.m. on the east coast.
I would guess there aren't many volleyball fans who crossover as MMA fans. I think the UFC would have more reason to worry if they had to go up against Judo or Wrestling Olympic events, as those are some base discliplines of MMA, so the average fight fan may be interested in those sports.
As it currently stands, Dana White should take a deep breath and relax. He has nothing to worry about. Fight fans will be tuned in to "UFC on Fox 4" on Aug. 4.
Should the UFC be worried about losing viewers to the Olympics on Aug. 4? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Martial Arts
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Dana White
- 2012 London Olympics