How The UFC Became a Money Making Mainstream Event

02/11/2018

 

Once considered a sport that was only for the selective, the UFC over the last five years has grown into a mainstream event, attracting millions of viewers across the globe in the process.

Having been founded back in 1993, fighting in the Octagon is not exactly a brand-new spectacle that has just been discovered by sports fans, but the organisation’s sudden growth in popularity is currently unprecedented inside the sporting world. After experiencing a steady increase in viewership during the late 2000s, following the influence of president Dana White and the announcing of their Fox partnership, the UFC successfully established a route onto prime-time TV.

From a viewership point of view, the numbers have been consistently impressive, with the company now standing as the seventh most valuable sports business brand in the world, just behind the MLB. If statistics are the best way to measure popularity, then the UFC is currently in a healthy and stable position, although not many of their loyal fans will necessarily agree with this viewpoint.

A major factor behind the huge influx of new UFC fans is down to the increasing use of social media, in which the events are slowly going down the ‘WWE’ route. Through press conference antics and the sharing of disputes outside of the ring, the organisation is slowly losing its authentic feel, but picking up a new generation of fans along the way.

Conor McGregor’s Influential Irish Touch

 

On the topic of controversial antics, what better figure to lead onto than the Irishman Conor McGregor. Famously known by his loyal fans as ‘The Notorious’, McGregor has been the centre of attention within the mainstream media ever since his 2015 Featherweight bout with Jose Aldo.

Through his eccentric behaviour during press conferences, to sharing his lavish lifestyle via social media, the Irishman has accumulated a mass fanbase, establishing himself as one of the biggest sporting stars in modern times. Mystic Mac’s cult following has, subsequently, led to some record-breaking PPV stats, with McGregor smashing the buyrate record for a UFC event on three separate occasions.

To some extent, the Irishman opened the gates of the UFC to the mainstream media, through his social media presence that attracted the attention of the public and his promotional techniques, that received coverage from news outlets all over the world. Through all his media exposure, McGregor now guarantees a minimum of 1m PPVs per event, regardless of his opponent, making him the UFC’s most prized possession. Every cloud does have its silver lining though and alongside his fanbase do also come the critics, with some of the sport’s loyal following not being drawn into McGregor’s contentious behaviour due to the controversy that he brings to the party.

Regardless of your opinion on the ex-Featherweight and Lightweight champion, there can be no disputing the reasoning why the officials behind the scenes at the UFC are happy to keep accommodating for McGregor. Although his last fight, at UFC 229, was overshadowed by outside of the ring antics, the event itself drew in 2,500,000 pay-per-view buys – nearly 1,000,000 more than his previous record with Nate Diaz (1.6m buys). Despite being part of the sporting industry, the UFC is still a promotion company that needs to survive, with the Irishman’s presence acting as a strong pillar in helping the business do so.

UFC 230 Odds

Next up on the UFC calendar is UFC 230, which will be held at the notorious Madison Square Garden and is taking place on Saturday the 3rd of November. Headlining the event is Daniel Cormier, who will be defending his heavyweight Championship against fellow American Derrick Lewis. Both fighters are renowned for their ferocious striking power and fans cannot wait to see the two lock horns, in what looks destined to be a thrilling event.

Cormier is the clear outright favourite, being backed with odds as little as 1/7 to retain his belt. Despite his emphatic victory at UFC 229, Lewis has only been given an outside shot with 9/2, but ‘The Black Beast’ will be desperate to finally get his hands on the Championship. Other fights to keep a close eye out for are the middleweight bouts of Chris Weidman vs Ronaldo Souza and David Branch vs Jared Cannonier.

ActiveWins’ affiliate partners Betfred continue to offer all the latest UFC 230 odds and betting markets. In a sport that can be so unpredictable, Betfred offers a range of odds from outright winner to the type of win, in order of matching all the action being showcased inside the Octagon. As the popularity of the events continue to surge and reach audiences around the globe, more and more UFC stars are beginning to pick up a larger following. Find your own favourite fighter and support them inside the cage when it comes to crunch time.

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