The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has exploded in popularity in recent years. From TV viewership to press coverage to record crowds at events, the numbers tell it all.
The following are some of the more interesting statistics about the sport:
• The annual percentage growth of PPV buys has increased from 47% in 2004 (over 2003) to 189% in 2005 to 352% in 2006.
• Gross revenues of PPV events has had annual increases of 47% in 2004, 232% in 2005, and 424% in 2006.
• Over 55 hours per month of television programming on US channels including Fox, FSN, Spike TV, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, and in syndication.
• An average growth rate over the past four years of almost 390% in terms of hours of monthly television programming featuring MMA.
The number one rated fighting event among men 18-34 (including boxing) of 2006 on television was a Spike TV featuring UFC® fighters Ortiz and Shamrock. Three of the top ten fights were MMA fights, with the rest featuring boxing.
The Ortiz vs. Shamrock fight was the fourth highest rated among all cable network sporting events in 2006 (the first two were football, the third was college football and the rest of the top ten included the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft, and World Cup Soccer).
Television Shows featuring MMA include:
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Jimmy Kimmel Live
The O’Reilly Factor
Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Fox & Friends
Best Dams Sports Show Period
ESPN Cold Pizza
Outside the Lines
The Craig Kilborn Show
about the sport and its athletes have appeared in:
Muscle and Fitness
have appeared in the following:
The New York Times
The Los Angeles Times
New York Post
The Wall Street Journal
The Boston Herald
The Miami Herald
The Washington Post
The Daily News
The Cincinnati Post
In terms of gate revenues, the UFC® is the premier organization, and their events have grown from five live events in 2001, with an average ticket price of $81.45 to 10 events in 2006, with an average ticket price of $273.68. Particularly noteworthy was the ticket price jump of almost $100 between 2005 and 2006 (going from $178.01 in 2005 to the aforementioned $273.68 in 2006).