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UFC owners make bold claims about mainstream sport: “We dwarf them”



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The UFC has undoubtedly grown immensely over the years, going from underground, niche sport to something much more mainstream, available on ESPN. However it would seem that the UFC has grown to not just rival mainstream sports, but is even outperforming the NHL – according to new claims.

According to TKO Group Holdings president Mark Shapiro, the parent company that now owns the UFC, the worlds premiere hockey leagues viewership numbers pale in comparison to the UFC’s.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media, and Telecom conference on Wednesday, Shapiro compared the UFC’s standings to what’s called the “four major” sports – football, baseball, basketball and hockey. Shapiro says that the numbers speak for themselves and that the UFC has officially taken over the spot that hockey once occuppied atop the major sports list.

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“UFC is now one of the four majors”

Throughout the years the UFC has made bigger and bigger steps towards mainstream recognition, being broadcast on Spike TV, then FOX and eventually ESPN – the home of American sports.

Shapira says that he doesn’t take any pleasure in putting down the NHL in favour of the UFC, but that facts are facts.

“You put a Fight Night, not a pay-per-view, not a preliminary bout in front of the pay-per-view, a regularly weekly Fight Night on ESPN — does double digit ratings, beats [the ratings] against the NHL,” Shapiro said. “The demos are anywhere from 20 to 40 percent up.

“Not to smack [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman or anything, I love the NHL, I’m a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan, but they’re just not in our league. That’s just not the case.”

Based on what Shapiro is saying then it seems the octagon os officially more mainstream than the ice hockey rink.

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