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We've covered UFC president Dana White's response to Dave Meltzer's analysis of the UFC on Fox 3 ratings and we've covered Meltzer's response to Dana, but we haven't actually covered the Wrestling Observer article that got Dana so worked up.
Here are some of Meltzer's main points:
- He called UFC on Fox 3, "a genuine XFL caliber ratings disaster"
- "Males 18-34 declined from a 3.2 to a 1.6. These are not the kind of numbers that can keep you in prime time."
- "The show did 34% below what COPS was doing this season in the time slot."
- Meltzer acknowledges that a number of factors hurt the ratings including the Floyd Mayweather bout, the opening weekend of The Avengers, Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby and NBA playoffs.
- "...the show was not well marketed. FOX didn't advertise it as hard as the previous shows."
- Says the question "is whether MMA on network TV is a novelty with a short shelf life, just like Celebrity Boxing..."
- "...the (Fox TV) contract has had a lot of growing pains for both sides. No matter what is said publicly, FOX didn't pay the money it did for the ratings it's getting. And UFC can't be happy that less people are watching the product than on Spike."
- "If this is part of a pattern, it is a big deal. As it is, this was the single most significant television ratings for any pro wrestling or MMA event since Shamrock vs. Ortiz (in Fall 2006) changed the way the television industry viewed UFC."
- "If the issue is that UFC has burned out its audience with too much product, and this is just an example of this, along with the TUF ratings, then it's disastrous. The reason is, overexposure is a killer that it takes a long time to recover from, if you can. More so, overexposure, ie, burning out the audience, by the time you've figured out you've done it, the damage was done months or even years earlier."
- "MMA has been around in Brazil since the 1930s, and gone through three booms, and it had a boom in Japan, and the end result is that in all cases, it never sustained."
- "It's likely to wind up similar to boxing, where rank-and-file shows don't mean anything, but big shows with the two or three major superstars can set records on PPV."
- "It's been successful for long enough that it's not a fad, but boxing isn't a fad either and if you put a secondary show on FOX on Saturday night, it's not going to last, That's why boxing hasn't been on network TV in prime time in eons."
- "To me, the 8/4 show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles becomes the single most important event in UFC history. Another rating like that and it will give UFC the reputation that it's fine as a cable property, but it's simply not mainstream and can't survive in the expensive real estate section of network prime."
It should be clear from reading just these notes why Dana responded so strongly. Meltzer may have a relatively small audience at the subscription-only Wrestling Observer but his reputation as an analyst of the cable TV and pay-per-view businesses is well established.