The fans of Mixed Martial Arts include women, families, celebrities and members of both the middle and upper classes.
Photo by Al Bello. All rights reserved.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is breaking all stereotypes when it comes to its fan base. Long-regarded as a fringe sport with a fan base of young men, MMA is quickly being embraced by a much larger and more diverse fan base.
In 2007, at UFC® 67 in Las Vegas and UFC® 69 in Houston, a third of the attendees were women, according to research leader Harris Interactive. In Houston, roughly half of all groups in attendance included a mix of men and women.
Attendees reported mean incomes above $70,000 in Houston and above $85,000 in Las Vegas. A majority of attendees (60% in Las Vegas and 84% in Houston) reported that they were attending their first event, signaling the rapid influx of new fans.
Setting attendance records
At arena after arena, MMA events are setting attendance and gate records.
• UFC® 75: CHAMPION vs. CHAMPION, which took place Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 at 02 Arena in London, England was attended by 16,000 people (sellout crowd) and grossed a gate of over £1,356,859.50 (Approx. $2.6 million). The fight was the most watched UFC® event ever, garnering 4.7 million viewers on Spike TV. The fight card drew more Men 18-49 than anything else on television, broadcast or cable, including heavy sports competition from college football on ABC and ESPN, NASCAR on ABC, and the U.S. Open Women’s Final on CBS.
• UFC® 68: THE UPRISING, which took place March 3, 2007 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, was attended by over 19,000 people and grossed a gate of more than $3 million. It was the largest gate in Nationwide Arena history and it also set the record for the highest North American attendance figure for a mixed martial arts event ever.
• UFC® 83, which took place in Canada, was the fastest sell out and largest live audience for a North American mixed martial arts event.
Mixed martial arts has become a must-see event for Hollywood stars. The following are some of the famous faces who have appeared at recent MMA events.
Andre Agassi & Stefi Graf
Michael Clark Duncan
And now comes the first feature-length film about mixed martial arts. Acclaimed writer/director David Mamet’s Red Belt
is due in theaters this spring. Mamet (best known for indy hits like Glengarry Glen Ross and The Spanish Prisoner) has been a fan of MMA for years. “I've become fascinated by the art and science of jiu jitsu,” says Mamet.
Also in 2008, Imperia Entertainment will release Don Dunn's Never Submit
, a heartful drama set in the world of Mixed Marial Arts competition.
Imperia Entertainment President James Hergott comments,"MMA is a very intellectual sport. A physical chess match. I want to portray the sport and its fighters as intelligent rather than dumb brawlers, as is often done in other movies."