5 YRS AGO: Dana White discusses UFC on Fox 2 ratings, retroactive naysayers, and evolution of Fox events

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch editor-in-chief

The ratings for last weekend’s UFC on Fox 2 event were down from the organization’s November debut, but were still rather good for an MMA event in North America, coming in amongst the most watched events ever. Still, the event was criticized after the fact when all three fights went to decision, with a fairly lackluster five-round main event closing out the show.

However, the negativity that came towards the card was in stark contrast to the excitement that preceded it, with the last minute change in match-ups seen as a good thing prior to the event. The Captain Hindsights of the MMA world have gotten on UFC President Dana White’s nerves, and on Thursday he addressed the naysayers about last weekend’s event.

“Ratings were awesome [for the event],” White said after Thursday’s UFC 143 pre-fight press conference (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). “I’m happy with the ratings. It was good… The funny thing about that is, the chatter that you get about fights. First of all there was so much hype about that fight. Sonnen vs. Bisping. The Maia fight. Even after the change people were like ‘it’s even more exciting now.’ And then after, everyone was like ‘they set themselves up for these boring fights.’ Shut up. People who come out after, you’re a liar. You’re a liar. You’re an idiot. You sound like an idiot when you say that.”

The UFC has had two very different types of events on Fox thus far, with the one fight offering in November ending in 60 seconds while last weekend’s card ran long with three full length fights. It’s part of the growing pains in figuring out how best to approach the Fox deal and the fights they put on the network, and White discussed how things will continue to evolve moving forward.

“These fights all looked exciting,” he said. “You just never know what’s gonna happen. Anything can happen on any given night. You can have three fights go to decision or you can put on a fight that you think’s gonna go longer and it lasts 60 seconds. It’s fighting. The hardest part of this whole thing is figuring out production. How many fights can you schedule? The commercial load that we’ve got and all the other things that you have to do. We did a pretty good job at getting this thing dialed in after the first fight going 60 seconds.”

“As this thing evolves it’s gonna be more about fighting. Fox has a system that they use for sports and you come into a big desk. What people are used to with the UFC are Goldie and Rogan on camera for two seconds and we get right into fights.”

Penick’s Analysis: No one can honestly come out and say they truly thought last Saturday’s main card was going to be as dull as it ended up being. All of the matchups were intriguing, and they all had the potential to be more than they wound up being, but we’ve seen time and again that fights can turn out many different ways. What ended up happening is all three fights were fairly evenly matched, which didn’t allow any fighter to take much of an advantage. Even in the main event, which saw Evans completely in control throughout the five round affair, Davis was good enough that even in a one-sided loss he didn’t allow Evans to do a whole lot to him. It’s unfortunate the fights weren’t quite as good as people hoped they would be, but the UFC put together a good event. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t deliver, and there’s nothing else they could have done about that.

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