UFC president Dana White is no stranger to exaggerating. Over the years, he has made all sorts of ridiculous statements about the UFC that don't hold up to any level of scrutiny. He's a promoter, so it's not like it's unexpected. That doesn't make it any less funny when he comes out with ridiculous numbers though, and he busted out a new example this week on The Morning Zoo, a radio show from Vegas hosted by Chet Buchanan. Basically, he thinks that a whooole lot of Brazilians are watching the UFC (transcribed by MMA Junkie):
"When we do fights in Brazil, 60 to 80 million people watch. And there's only 200 million people in the country."
As usual, the actual stats disagree with White's embellishments. For example, Tatame reported that 12 million households watched UFC 153. UFC 147, the last Brazilian event before that, drew 20 million total viewers. UFC 142 drew 23 million total viewers. And Dana said about 10 million people watched The Ultimate Fighter Brazil on Globo.
Those are undoubtedly awesome numbers. Way better than the viewership for any North American show ever. So why inflate the numbers to a ridiculous degree? Who knows. He was more measured with his followup statements though:
"It is so red-hot in Brazil," White said. "When we go down there, the fans are so loud and chanting for their guys. They go crazy for their guys. It's just unbelievable. I know there's a lot of UFC fans in Vegas, (but) if they ever get the opportunity to go to a fight down in Brazil, believe me when I tell you, you've got to do it. It's a unique experience."
"Every time we go down to Brazil to do a fight, it's like the first time we've ever been there," he said. "We've only been to Rio and Belo Horizonte. Those are the only two places we've been. There are so many other places for us to go in Brazil. It's a very, very fun market."
Either way, it's not hard to figure out why the UFC wants to return to Brazil so often. In fact, it looks like they're going to start their year there on January 19th. And I don't blame them.