One of the more consistent narratives in MMA for 2014 has been the UFC's declining business. While we don't know any specific numbers for UFC 174, the early talk is that it did less than 100,000 pay-per-view buys, a number that seemed unthinkably low in very recent years.
Jon Jones hasn't developed into a star capable of pulling much more than 350,000 buys, despite being a freakish talent who may well be the best fighter to ever compete in MMA. Ronda Rousey is a "star" but doesn't seem to quite be a guarantee for huge PPV numbers either (at least without a solid foil), as she pulled about 350,000 buys against Sara McMann.
But Dana White told Yahoo! Sports that business is booming like never before:
"This business has never been bigger and never been crazier," White said. " ... I hear all this [expletive] about the Fight Pass cards, but Americans can't wrap their heads around the fact we're not doing those cards for them. The fights are for the people in those countries. Say what you want about a card, but there is nothing like a live UFC event. We've found that people who go to one of our live events tend to become regular UFC fans. We are looking at a total attendance in these fight cards of 60,000, so those are 60,000 people we're developing into UFC fans.
"We put the fights on Fight Pass so that the hard core people who might want to watch them have a way to see them. This has nothing to do with us trying to sell those fights to the fans here. If you want to watch them, great, it's 10 bucks a month. We have Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt fighting in Japan coming up. That's going to be an unreal fight. If you want to see it, it's 10 bucks and you can cancel it after a month. If you don't want to see those cards, we don't give a [expletive] because we're not doing the shows for anybody but the country's we're doing them in. We're putting the shows on for the people in these other markets where they can see the shows live in their prime time instead of having to watch at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning."
The UFC puts on what could be their biggest card of the year this Saturday night with UFC 175, featuring Ronda Rousey as well as Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida for the UFC middleweight title. Dana White wants everyone to know that business is booming in UFC land. In fact, it's 'never been bigger.'