CNBC's "Fistful of Dollars" Recap

July 30, 2009

CNBC’s “Ultimate Fighting: Fistful of Dollars” premiered last night, taking viewers back inside the Octagon for a second look at the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC, in particular.

The show was clearly designed for general audiences; thus, it didn’t divulge much in the way of facts or statistics that we have yet to hear or read about. I did, however, make a few quick notes on some of the more interesting business points from the segment:

– In 2008, the UFC generated nearly $275 million in revenue which represented an increase of 37% over two years.

– The UFC (or MMA in general) brought nearly $86 million in non-gaming revenue to the city of Las Vegas  in 2008.

– Tapout, the industry leading clothing label, has seen its revenues grow at nearly 300% since the beginning of 2007; the company generated $120 million in revenue in 2008.

Overall, the show was quite well balanced. It covered the wide spectrum of MMA – the NHB days, John McCain’s cockfighting, the Zuffa purchase of the UFC, new sanctioning/rules, etc. – but, it also took a look at the sport from multiple perspectives, including that of the fighters, apparel makers, sponsors, government, and UFC competition.

Upon reading about the planned feature – and its title – I envisioned some sort of cynical tone whereby they’d paint MMA promoters as a bunch of greedy, morally uninhibited scoundrals that had taken advantage of a new blood thirsty generation to attain significant profits. Definitely not the case here and well worth your time to check out the hour-long segment.

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