Australia top UFC market per capita

E. Spencer Kyte Roar Pro

By E. Spencer Kyte, E. Spencer Kyte is a Roar Pro

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    A string of wildly successful events in Canada prompted UFC President Dana White to crown the country “The Mecca of MMA” a few years ago.

    Since the UFC began returning to Brazil routinely last August, White has been singing the praises of the country that produced UFC champions like Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Jose Aldo.

    Now, it’s Australia’s turn to receive some recognition.

    According to UFC Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik, Australia is the UFC’s biggest market in the world on a per capita basis:

    “It is not only one of our fastest growing markets, but it’s pound-for-pound our biggest market.

    When you look at the number of inhabitants, the TV homes, the pay television universe and the amount of revenue that the country generates for the UFC, it is without question the top hitter in the international or even domestic world.”

    The UFC held their first show in Australia in February 2010, with more than 17,000 people filling the Acer Arena in Sydney for an event that saw then-prospect Cain Velasquez knock-out former Pride and UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira early in the first round of the main event.

    More than 18,000 people returned one year later when BJ Penn and Jon Fitch battled to a draw in the main event of a fight card remembered for the heated rivalry between Michael “The Count” Bisping and Jorge Rivera. It was also the event where veterans Mark Hunt and Anthony “Hippo” Perosh each earned their first UFC victories. Both have subsequently gone on to win two more bouts and enter their respective upcoming summer match-ups on impressive three-fight winning streaks.

    In early March, the UFC returned to the renamed Allphones Arena with their third event in as many years, headlined by Martin Kampmann’s final minute guillotine choke victory over Thiago Alves, and the semifinal round of the tournament to crown the inaugural flyweight champion in UFC history.

    There has been speculation all year that the UFC would return to Australia for a second time in 2012, bringing an event to Brisbane for the first time. That event is still in the works, with no announcements or confirmations made at this time.

    With the success of the first international season of The Ultimate Fighter (Brazil), talk has once again heated up around TUF: Australia, with a fistic take on “The Ashes” still being discussed.

    Australian UFC middleweight Kyle Noke discussed both in an interview conducted earlier this month that will be coming to The Roar later this week.

    As more information on the potential Brisbane show and an Australian season of The Ultimate Fighter becomes available, you’ll hear about it here on The Roar.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • May 8th 2012 @ 3:09pm
      turbodewd said | May 8th 2012 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

      Good to hear that little ol’ Oz is getting some recognition. I became a big UFC fan outta nowhere in 2010, now me n 2 mates watch it regularly unless we deem a card to be too uninteresting. Mind you, the no name fighters can produce some spectacular fights.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 3:16pm
      Titus said | May 8th 2012 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

      Gawd…….what a sad indictment on our culture.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 4:09pm
        The Cattery said | May 8th 2012 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

        I was listening to a sports podcast the other day that reckons MMA is the fastest growing sport in Australia.

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2012 @ 2:03am
          Max Kenney-Herbert said | May 10th 2012 @ 2:03am | ! Report

          Its is supposed to be the fasting growing sport in the world

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 6:23pm
        Damien said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

        Depends on how you look at it.

        I’m a huge MMA fan and know people who hate, love and can’t get enough of the sport.

        They all have their valid reasons. The local shows can be abit dodgy and a friend who I took to an event mentioned to me how many ‘staunch’ guys there were at the event.

        I laughed and told him that there are even more at the V8’s (only been to the GC ones), and footy games at Suncorp.

        All sports have their llinks to dodgy identities (even football/soccer).

        Personally I took it as Australia having a solid sporting culture and being open minded in what sport they follow..

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2012 @ 2:06am
        Max Kenney-Herbert said | May 10th 2012 @ 2:06am | ! Report

        If you take the time to actually watch it, you will see that it is far from a bloodthirsty brawl and much more intricate than boxing. the combination of disciplines mean that the best people aren’t just the quickest or the strongest they are often the most committed and leaned; in this respect it is similar to cricket. people who put in the work, who are not the most natural athletes, can still excel at this sport. Yes it is over hyped and very american but hey, it makes for a great show

    • May 8th 2012 @ 3:30pm
      NF said | May 8th 2012 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

      Titus by the sounds of it your not a MMA fan as far as concerned you either get it or you don’t. The preceptions people have of it being a bloodsport and cockfighting is outdated views considering the implementation of rules and regulations of the Unified rules of MMA for a while now. There will always be the Tituses out there who already made up there mind and never change, but for those open-minded people should give MMA a chance aleast.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 5:20pm
        Titus said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

        I have watched it NF, I understand that though the sport is mostly excruciatingly boring wrestling, there is always the chance that someone will land a clean punch, put there opponent out cold, and jump on him and smash his face in……you are right, this can only be a good thing for society.

        • Roar Pro

          May 9th 2012 @ 1:09am
          E. Spencer Kyte said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:09am | ! Report

          How is this sport particularly bad for society? The participants are highly trained athletes, amongst the most conditioned in the world today, and know exactly what they’re getting into.

          Are there occasionally unnecessary blows when an opponent is already beaten? Yes, but it’s nowhere near as brutal and savage as you’re making it sound. For every UFC fight you see where a fighter takes unnecessary damage, there are two or three where they tap or the referee stops the fight at the appropriate time.

          There are also plenty of times where the fighters themselves stop throwing strikes because they know their opponent is done, most recently when Brian Stann fought Alessio Sakara in Sweden.

          You don’t like it — that’s perfectly fine — but don’t make it out to be the scourge of society that will turn everyone into mindless thugs.

          • May 9th 2012 @ 10:32am
            Titus said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:32am | ! Report

            You are right, it is a bit rough to blame all societies ills on UFC. I mean, society can be a nasty place, violence is a part of life, it exists with or without UFC, why not turn it into a sport/TV entertainment?

            I have no doubt that there are some intelligent, disciplined and talented athletes in UFC(and spectators). I have seen fights where there is a lot of respect between the fighters involved, but the problem isn’t so much the fighters it’s the fact that 90% of your audience couldnt give a fig about respect, discipline, intelligence, they just want to see someone get hurt, or stumble around in a dazed state of senslessness.

            I am sure the calibre of fighters has improved since I watched a reality show, several years ago, of UFC fighters living in a house together and fighting off. My God, they were some of the nastiest pieces of work I have ever witnessed.

            I don’t have a real problem with combat sports, it is more that UFC is marketed to the lowest base of human pathos. And it doesn’t really suprise me that the two fastest growing sports in the world are UFC and Lingerie Football. I suspect if you strapped camera’s to the head of US soldiers as they went on kill missions and broadcast it live, it would be a ratings winner, if you did that live in an arena people would turn up, especially in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

            • Roar Pro

              May 9th 2012 @ 12:09pm
              E. Spencer Kyte said | May 9th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              I think you misjudge the UFC (and MMA) audience, Titus.

              Yes, there are those who want nothing more than blood and gore with no regard for the technical elements of the sport, the deep, rich history of the arts, or things like respect, discipline, intelligence, etc. They’re the same ones who boo the minute a fight goes to the ground, scream nonsense like “Kill him!”, and somehow always end up seated behind press row…

              Seriously — the clowns are always behind the media somehow…

              That said, I think there are far more people who appreciate the sport on a deeper level than you think. Maybe I’m skewed that way because I interact with people who feel that way on a daily basis, but I think the make-up of the audience has shifted a great deal from the early days of the sport, and will continue to grow in the future.

              Lastly, I think you’d like The Ultimate Fighter a lot more this season — they’ve been a very well behaved bunch this year.

              • May 9th 2012 @ 12:33pm
                Titus said | May 9th 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                Fair enough ESK, and I don’t mean any disrespect to those genuine fans and athletes.

                There are good qualities in self-defence and a one-on-one contest that involves respect and discipline. My gripe is probably more with the media and the marketers, I just think that when it comes to violent sports you need to be very careful about how you portray and promote it.

                All the best.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 6:23pm
        The Cattery said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

        I’m an occasional boxing fan so I don’t wish to judge MMA and its growing fan base at all because I do understand its background and history (and lament that boxing has lost its way), but I have to admit that personally some of the hits are so brutal, I actually struggle to understand how it can even be allowed in a legal sense.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 6:39pm
          Titus said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

          Put it this way TC, kneeing someone in the head could easily cause some serious damage to the brain, if not death. At least in the cage you are getting paid and have medical support……..getting attacked by a drunken steroid freak who is emulating his heroes is possibly far more dangerous.

          I’m certainly not going to tell people not to watch it, I just don’t think this accolade is anything to be proud of.

          • Roar Pro

            May 9th 2012 @ 1:15am
            E. Spencer Kyte said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:15am | ! Report

            You can’t compare what takes place in the cage to the actions of “drunken steroid freaks” — they aren’t analogous.

            The fighters are highly skilled, trained athletes — not meatheads looking to have a dust up on a Saturday night. Additionally, if you think the only people who like this sport are “drunken steroid freaks,” you’re incredibly naive, and horribly bias, I might add.

            We all get it — you don’t like this sport and think those of us who do are neanderthals. Why not just let us enjoy without coming and making a serious of uneducated attacks on the sport?

            I’d love to have an actual debate with you about the merits of the sport, and the skills of the athletes involved, but you seem to be more interested in trotting out tired cliches and uneducated assessments about both, so I would assume trying to talk rationally about MMA with you would be an exercise in futility.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 5:59pm
      NF said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

      ‘you are right, this can only be a good thing for society.’ I did not say that at all a sport is a sport and last I check MMA is one. I know you’re a association football fan and more power to you but there are those who happen to enjoy MMA as a SPORT. Next time you want to quote me make sure it’s correct too. All I want is MMA to be given a fair go it’s been the black sheep of combat sports for far too long now and it has come a long way from the old days to fully professional sport.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 6:12pm
      Daniel said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

      Sad indictment indeed Titus. There’s nothing tough about hitting a bloke when he’s down.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 6:31pm
        Damien said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

        Not sure if you’re a boxing fan Daniel but thats far worse in terms of head injuries than MMA will ever be.

        MMA is basically ‘controlled’ violence just like the V8’s are ‘controlled’ speeding.

        I suppose the beauty of anyones sport is in the eye of the beholder.

        I’ve seen plenty of matches when the guy thats been knocked down pulls off an amazing victory by submission which happens almost all the time on the ground.

        So sometimes its actually not in the ‘strikers’ interest to follow his opponent to the ground. Especially if thats the where their strength lies.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 7:01pm
      Freddie said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

      No surprise Australia loves this stuff. Watch any AFL/NRL game and people get more excited by the biff than the game, and with the sporting media’s pathetic obsession with “manliness” it must be like shooting fish in a barrel for UFC.

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