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UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta speaks out in rare interview

Yahoo! Sports columnist Kevin Iole was able to land a rare one-on-one interview with UFC co-owner Lorenzo Feritta. It’s a great interview that has generated a lot of discussion around the Internet thus far.

Most fans are none too pleased with a comment in which Fertitta praises the UFC 78 card that took place in November from a business perspective:

Y!: But it seems like you had some shows in 2007 that just didn’t do that well as they had in the past. Isn’t that fair?

LF: Not really. I actually look at this the opposite way. One of the greatest successes that we’ve had, for instance, is the last show we did in New Jersey (UFC 78 on Nov. 17). We had a fight being headlined by two guys who had never fought for a championship and, relatively, had never been proven to be pay-per-view draws. But we basically sold out the arena in New Jersey and we did very strong, above average, pay-per-view. So to me, while it wasn’t Liddell-Ortiz, that said more to me than one of what you might call one of our bigger fights did. It showed that our UFC brand can carry a whole show.

From a fan’s perspective, I can understand why they wouldn’t be too happy with a co-owner of the UFC giving themselves credit for putting together a card that was not one of their strongest efforts.


  • Evan says:

    I read this earlier, this is the best part of the interview IMO


    Y!: The UFC president, Dana White, has become one of the biggest figures in the sport. But he’s also controversial. What do you think of the job he’s done and where can he get better? Has he ever said anything that just makes you groan and go, ‘Oh, Dana,’ when you hear about it?

    LF: Bottom line, and I’ve said this before, but I don’t think anybody could have accomplished what Dana has. It took somebody like Dana who’s got street smarts, who doesn’t pull punches, who speaks his mind, who never bull(expletive), to do this. At the end of the day, if we had taken a Harvard MBA and hired him in 2001 to run this company, we’d probably be bankrupt right now. There are so many things that are unconventional about this business. This isn’t something you can read about and learn in a textbook. This is a business where, day-to-day, you have to be on the ground and you have to be on top of your game. Dana is that guy. I truly believe that Dana was put on the Earth to run the UFC.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    He made an interesting point about UFC and MMA. Without UFC, MMA as we know it wouldn’t exist. I suspect he’s probably right, but would be interested in any dissenting opinions.

  • Wang Chung says:

    lorenzo is a slick dude. and i don’t mean that in the slimey way. i think his comment is right on the money. there’s pressure to put on these incredible cards every single time out, and realistically, they can’t do it. so for them to put some rising stars in the main event fold and still sell out says alot. beyond that, it’s just simple intangibles and risk. you can’t expect that every fan is the same, with the same responses and the same favourite fighters. personally i haven’t felt too pumped about the next card, even though it will be pretty good in all fairness. i just don’t find bj vs joe daddy to be extremely compelling for whatever reason. mostly because joe daddy doesn’t have any aura about him that compares with the bigger name guys, or even guys like guida, griffin, edgar, or huerta now. and there’s been virtually no hype around this card as far as i can tell. not yet anyhow, and with a couple of weeks to go, i will be surprised if this card does well. i’m not sure where i’m going with this line of thought other than to say lorenzo has a much better idea of the MMA biz than some fickle fans might. lorenzo and crew must listen to what their target audience wants, however it must be taken with a grain of salt. especially many MMA fans who are notoriously knee jerk flakey.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I think they’re relying on BJ Penn to excite the fans, and I’m not sure he has the mystique. These guys know their business, but I can’t help but wonder if it would be better for them to show this on Spike rather than a pay per view. They’d get more viewers, and free broadcasts are important to get new fans. That’s how I got interested, and watched the shows on Spike for over a year before I was willing to throw down the bucks for a pay per view. Also, it avoids the embarrassment of lower buy numbers. If their numbers drop, everybody will start wondering what’s wrong with the UFC, etc.

  • Mo says:

    his UFC 78 comment was funny. It isn’t like he said something we already didn’t know. no one felt that card was particularly strong. Me and my friends bought tickets to that event, but when we first got them the thought was that BJ Penn was going to be in the main event against possibly Sherk or someone else. I mean it isn’t like the UFC put a crappy card together on purpose. they didn’t have to try and sell us that the card was better then we all thought, but people shouldn’t be offended by his comments because he is honest. i think the event sold out (with nomal fan tickets, not the 500 dollar floor seats) before they even declared half the fights

  • Gong says:

    They seem to be in a bit of a predicament in replying to the UFC 78 question. Big companies don’t often admit defeat, and when they do it still feels like a backhanded compliment at best. For what it’s worth, I think he handled it well.


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