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UFC 84 replay beats EliteXC in key demo

Spike TV issued a press release Tuesday afternoon announcing that its re-airing of UFC 84 this past Saturday drew more viewers than CBS and EliteXC’sSaturday Night Fights” in the key demographic of males 18-34.

According to the release, UFC 84 outdrew “Saturday Night Fights” in the male 18-34 demo by 27% with Spike totaling 433,00 men compared to CBS’ 341,000.

Spike is also touting the fact that compared to last Saturday’s live broadcast of UFC Fight Night 14 featuring Anderson Silva, the UFC outdrew EliteXC by 165% in the male 18-34 demographic and by 21% in total viewership.

The press release took a very surreal turn, with Spike comparing the drop in EliteXC’s second CBS show from the first show to the XFL on NBC. The release even went so far as to say the first CBS show featured “the ‘He Hate Me’ of MMA, Kimbo Slice.”

I say that the prose is surreal because while Spike TV and CBS are operated by different subsidiaries that trade under different ticker symbols on the New York Stock Exchange, they still belong to the same parent company.

Five Ounces of Pain has received many ratings bulletins over the past year and a half and we’ve never seen one written in such a contentious manner. It’s obvious that the UFC has a strong and loyal partner in Spike and that they aren’t taking competition lightly.

But the numbers don’t lie and while “Saturday Night Fights” showed improvement across the board when it comes to production and matchmaking, the ratings weren’t strong. Granted, nobody was expecting the second show to match the first show, but being beaten by a basic cable channel in a key demo during an airing of a taped MMA broadcast where the results are readily available is not good.

The lesson here is one we already knew: casual viewers want to see stars. It doesn’t matter how good your fight card is, the masses want recognizable names. Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith, Jake Shields, and Nick Diaz all have a strong following that no doubt increased following the exposure they received this past Saturday. But are they stars? Maybe they will be one day but building new stars takes time.

People can say whatever they want about Kimbo Slice, but he has the aura of a star. Even people that had no idea who he was identified him as a star because of his look and because of his unique back story. And Gina Carano may have trouble making weight but she also has the “it” factor.

With Kimbo and Carano set to return on Oct. 4 in Miami, I see the show being a ratings success. However, there is a major issue of what to do when CBS wants a show and Kimbo and Gina aren’t available that has to be addressed.

If CBS wants a fourth show in a time frame in which Kimbo and Gina won’t be ready, then Frank Shamrock has to be the headliner. As great as he’s done as an announcer, he still has plenty of box office potential and knows how to promote and market his fights. Hypothetically speaking, if CBS wants to do a show in Dec., they should look into a main event of Shamrock vs. Robbie Lawler for the EliteXC middleweight title.

EliteXC should also make it a priority to get Eddie Alvarez out there. Alvarez has star potential thanks to an exciting fighting style. He also has credibility with the hardcores following his strong run during DREAM’s lightweight Grand Prix.

18 COMMENTS
  • I’m going to go with “ouch.”

  • Cobra Kai says:

    I don’t think Frank can fight until he gets his braces off :)

  • Ross says:

    “I don’t think Frank can fight until he gets his braces off”

    i agree, and if I can remember right my brother had braces for like 1-2 years…..Dont they have products like invisoline or whatever that do the same thing but you dont wear braces??
    Is this the same Cobra from Junkie?

  • Davey D says:

    They need to bring both Shamrock and Alvarez to the masses. Word of mouth will spread fast when they’ve set opponent’s for these two. Here’s is what I’d do.

    Frank Shamrock vs. Robbie Lawler for the MW strap. When, well…TBA.

    Eddie Alvarez vs. KJ Noons. Or have him fight the winner of Noons/Diaz since there is already a lot of heat already. Eddie vs. Hellboy could happen next so it’s all up to EXC.

    SAM, why can’t you be the next Joe Silva???

    I expected the UFC on Spike to do better anyways. Why? Because it’s the UFC. That PPV event was one of the best this year as a whole. I had such a great time that night.

    Cheers!!!

  • Ross says:

    wondering if CBS is thinking that they have attached to the wrong horse?

  • finkrod says:

    I guess Spike is letting Dana write their press releases now.

  • t-vo says:

    Put on a December show in the bay area with Shamrock vs. Lawler or Shamrock vs. Le II and they will do good ratings as well as a guaranteed sell out of the the HP Center in San Jose.

  • Cobra Kai says:

    #3 – Same Cobra

  • Cobra Kai says:

    How about Lawler vs. Le?

  • Matt says:

    You can fight with braces. He’ll just need a special mouth guard. It’s like an extra twenty bucks.

  • t-vo says:

    Hmmmm, would Lawler and Le draw enought mainstream mma fans? I know Le has a following in the vietnamese community and all of the bay area but on national TV? Perhaps after his movie debut on the new Tekken movie but before that, who knows. I think Shamrock vs. Le II would be great on CBS.

  • Jeremy says:

    Le/Lawler is not going to happen for two reasons:

    Le has said he won’t be fighting until 09 because of film commitments.

    With Strikeforce having an NBC deal, and Elite having CBS, they will not be having their fighters facing off.

  • Jeremy says:

    It is also worth noting that Elite’s final rating was a 1.7, so it dropped .2.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I guess I’m not surprised by the final numbers. I enjoyed the fights, and the production was improved, but for the most part they’re still behind UFC in terms of the caliber of the fighters. I am a little disappointed, though, because this round of fights was better than the first and deserved better ratings.

  • […] comparison between the EliteXC: Unfinished Business and the SpikeTV replay of UFC 84. Courtesy of Sam Caplan at 5oz’s. […]

  • fightfan says:

    It is bad when a cable tv mma REPEAT event beats a LIVE mma event on FREE tv!!!!

    I dont know how many MORE homes CBS gets to than SPIKE. I think, but am not sure I read that it is somethign like 17 MILLION more homes receive CBS than SPIKE.

    That is a failure for EliteXC not to have more viewers than SPIKE on the 26th

  • JOe K. says:

    Those fights on CBS were great. If that would have been the first event they would have had a way stronger 2nd show.

    Although, the UFC 84 card was unbelievable. I could see someone watching that over the CBS card if they haven’t seen it before. Also, perhaps the Spike event was much more promoted. At least to those age demographics.

  • Warcry says:

    When the Ufc finally gets a deal on regular network tv its a wrap for all other promotions. The elites of the world need to move quickly to solidify their place in the market or it is lights out and time to go home.

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