What Effect Will The UFC Magazine Have on Current Print Players?

June 29, 2009

The UFC announced the release of their UFC 100 commemorative magazine, which is something of a trial balloon for a full roll out of the magazine. MMAPayout reported earlier that the UFC 100 magazine idea was more than what is was being sold as, with internal Zuffa chatter tabbing the commemorative issue as a pre-cursor to a full blown monthly magazine.


Dana White was asked on his twitter account if this was more than a one off and answered that “The first mag hits stands this week. We will see how it does then decide.” Those sentiments were echoed by the Editor in chief of the magazine, in his appearance on Fox Fight Game:

It seems to be a bit of a foregone conclusion, that the powers that be are paying lip service to the idea of holding off to decide. Pretty much everything they are touching is turning to gold. Editor Seth Kelly noted the excellent ad sales in talking with Mike Straka. The UFC magazine is being done in co-operation with the folks behind Men’s Fitness, who have done very good business at the newsstand whenever they have featured UFC fighters on the cover. With the UFC’s databases and the subscription rolls for MF, the combined efforts of the two should make for a strong start-up from a subscription basis as well.

With UFC Magazine possibly coming into the market full time, the question that arises is, Whither the MMA print media? There are multiple players in the market, including TapouT Magazine, Ultimate MMA, Real Fighter, Fighters Only, and Fight!. Fight! is the highest profile in the domestic market, while Fighters Only has an international reach with editions for the US, Canada, The UK, and Germany. I would view these two as being the main parties impacted by the UFC mag coming to market.

With the UFC entering the market, do the MMA print mags get the Sherdog treatment, with credentialing and photo usage being pulled, now that they are ostensibly competing? Or do they get MMAWeekly’d, with some degree of reasonable access being given? I’d probably lean toward the latter, as the general coverage by the big two is uncritical. With the exception of the Roger Huerta piece that appeared in Fight! that rattled a few Zuffa cages, little that appears in big two would deserve a heavy handed approach by the UFC, but to paraphrase Will Munny, deserved often has nothing to do with it. The coverage is generally pliable, and heavily leaning towards the Zuffa duo of the UFC and WEC (with Josh Barnett being being the only non-Zuffa fighter to grace the Fight! cover.) The MMA fan would be well served with these guys keeping credentials, but such a criteria often doesn’t enter the equation when bottom line decisions are being made.

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