With the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it seems appropriate to look back on how the company has grown into the global sporting behemoth it is today. The sport continues to rise in popularity, and its appeal is wide reaching. There is something about physical combat sports which have a unique appeal, and the UFC has tapped into this to provide a product like no other.
Of course, it has taken the company a long time to garner the interest and popularity it now enjoys. When the UFC was developed in the early 1990s it was slow to take ahold among more established combat sports, like boxing and wrestling. Many were taken aback by its violent nature. Indeed, US senator John McCain lobbied a campaign to ban the UFC, referring to it as the equivalent of “human cockfighting”.
Once the rules were redefined and the sport became more regulated, its popularity began to grow steadily. However, the company struggled financially in the pay-per-view market, and eventually branched off into reality television with the advent of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ – a show which featured up and coming MMA talent competing for a six-figure UFC contract. The programme was an instant success, and led to more television opportunities for the company, and as a result the sport began to gain a stronger footing commercially. Continue reading “The Rise of the UFC into the Company it is today”