The story of UFC: How a reality TV show promoted global domination

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the biggest promotion company for MMA globally. Since its debut in 1993, it has grown to become a presence that advocates large numbers, in terms of viewership and finances. Dana White, the president of UFC has seen its ups and lows. Since 2001, she headed the company and built it into multi-billion dollar business.

However, the business wasn’t always easy for the UFC. It is all thanks to a reality TV show that the UFC became the global leaders they are. ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ (TUF) influenced the MMA enthusiasts so much that the UFC became the face of MMA beyond America and out into the world.

Tough times of the UFC

Although it would come as a surprise for newer fans of the UFC, they had pretty challenging times back in the 1990s and early 2000s. The pay-per-views stats were disastrous and they were in the margin of being in debt. The UFC 49, 50, and 51 garnered just 225,000 pay-per-view buys between them.

It is at a time like this ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ came to life and changed the UFC’s journey altogether. Paid advertising did play a role too but the reality TV show reaped benefits in a continuous manner for the UFC.

The scenario after The Ultimate Fighter came to life

When TUF 1 was launched in 2005, the UFC might not have expected that its 52nd edition would generate 300,000 pay-per-views. While it looks like the figures are not good compared to the present stats of the UFC, back then, this was the beginning of their success.

Newer seasons of TUF helped them hit new targets and successful milestones. Last 15 years, the UFC sold an approximate of 90 million pay-per-views. The progression is so evident that since 2005, the UFC generated $4 billion in revenue, from pay-per-views alone.

According to Betway, the amazing numbers are a result of the key sporting moments the UFC gifted its viewers. This ensured that word went around among sporting enthusiasts and created a network of fans; much like what happens in all sports.

The TUF alumni won 439 post-fight bonuses. This means that they contributed 439 incredible moments in total for their since 2005.

These moments became the greatest takeaways in UFC history. The records show that five Fights of the Year were attributed to the ones that happened in TUF. More noise was created during a big upset that happened in the TUF stage. This was when  TUF 4 winner Matt Serra knocked out Georges St-Pierre, on his road to lift the welterweight championship during UFC 69. All this worked in favour of the UFC with regard to its promotion and the hype among fans.

This is how the UFC became a global presence as it expanded its markets in accordance with its popularity. But the star was TUF as, without the reality show, the probability shows the UFC would have been a failed venture.