Even from an outsider’s perspective, the stark differences between the Zuffa LLC era and the today’s WME-IMG-ran UFC is easy to point out. And through its almost two-year run, there have been more complaints than praises towards current management and how they operate.
During his recent guesting on the JRE MMA Show podcast, veteran referee turned Bellator commentator John McCarthy spoke with Joe Rogan about the differences between the two eras of management in the UFC. And as the man who has been there since the early days even before Zuffa and took over, “Big John” pointed to one man as the key figure in the UFC’s rise to mainstream recognition.
“The greatest thing that the UFC had was Lorenzo Fertitta,” McCarthy said. “I’m just being honest. Dana White was fantastic for the UFC as far as his work effort and the amount of work he put into it and non-stop just going after deals, trying to make things happen.”
“He was the workhorse for it, but Lorenzo is the brains behind it. And the loss of him is great. You’ve already seen things.”
The UFC’s ratings as of late have not met expectations, to say the least. UFC 224’s preliminary card that took place on Saturday night in Brazil drew an average of 574,000, which is said to be the lowest PPV prelims broadcast of 2018.
As Rogan pointed out the weekly events that the UFC holds as one of the possible reasons, McCarthy could not agree more.
“(Having too many events) is part of the problem,” McCarthy said. “For a while there, they were almost competing against themselves with pay-per-views. You had two pay-per-views in a month, and you went and said ‘I’ll buy that one, I’m not gonna buy that one.’”
“You can’t be in business against yourself.”
WME-IMG bought the UFC from the Fertittas in July 2017 for $4 billion.