UFC 100 Lesnar-Mir: Pro Fighting or Cockfighting?

July 14, 2009 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

UFC Lesnar

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

“Mayhem” may be the best word to describe UFC 100 – the mixed martial arts (MMA) event held in Las Vegas on July 11th was attended by 11,000 wound up fans.  Regardless of the controversy related to the brutality of the sport – John McCain at one point called it “human cockfighting” – people are opening their wallets up in droves to watch these roided beasts bludgeon each other for $44.95 on Pay-Per-View.

Cockfight

In the Heavyweight class Brock “The Next Big Thing” Lesnar, a 6’3” – 265 pound monster destroyed his lesser foe Frank Mir in two rounds. For his winning demolition, Lesnar is estimated to rake in more than $2 million for his two round mauling. Despite Mir’s earlier victory over Lesnar, he earned a shockingly low $45,000 for the main event.   With over $5 million collected from the gates in Las Vegas, an estimated 1.5 million Pay-Per-View watchers, and key advertisers like Bud Light and Harley Davidson, UFC executives had a little loose change to pay the stable of barbarian fighters.

After walloping Mir and flipping two prominently displayed birds (i.e., middle fingers) to the Las Vegas fans, Lesnar also KO’d UFC sponsor Bud Light by saying he was thirsty for a Coors. Lesnar held a grudge because he was not compensated for his victory by Bud Light. As the old saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, we’ll have to wait and see what impact Lesnar’s shenanigans will have on future UFC sponsorships.

Debate still lingers on whether MMA will go mainstream, and based on the force of this juggernaut, I would have to say the Magic 8-ball says the “Possibilities are strong.” Not only has 60 Minutes done a story on UFC here in the states, but the popularity of the sport is spreading rapidly globally.  Evidence includes the beaming of the live fights to 75 countries and the large 20-member Japanese media group that travelled to Nevada to follow UFC star Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Whether you agree with the raw violence of the sport or not, there is no denying the momentum of this express train. UFC has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. UFC President Dana White and business partners purchased UFC in 2001 for $2 million – CNBC estimates the value of the company at $1 billion today. The IPO markets have been pretty stingy of late, but with a few more successful events like UFC 100, don’t be surprised to see Dana White offering shares via a road show through your local financial center.  If Lesnar gets a cut of the shares, he might even celebrate the IPO with a swig of Bud Light.

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