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DANA WHITE: "WE HAVE BROUGHT FOX A WHOLE NEW AUDIENCE"

UFC viewing numbers continue to make headlines following the further decline recorded for the latest episode of TUF Live, but company president Dana White has again taken naysayers to task for their blanket criticism.

White told the LA Times that there are other considerations to the numbers and while a general upswing is of course desirable, there is no panic at either FOX or the UFC because the UFC programming is doing its job - bringing in an audience that previously didn’t visit those channels and opening up new routes of advertising in the process.

“Before us, the ads sold to television audiences on Saturday nights were Poligrip and [adult] diapers. We've brought the 18-34 male crowd that never used to watch TV on Saturday, and when they say our fights on Fuel are slipping, we had double our early audience of the same fights on Fox Deportes,” he told reporter Lance Pugmire.

“As for TUF on FX, our 2010 prelims on Spike were at 1.4 million, and the last one was at 1.6 million, and growing every prelim… The real story is, what do the Internet reporters know? When they say Fox made a big bet on the UFC, and now it's tanking . . . it's not.

“It's given Fox an audience it never had before... 3.9 million new viewers to Fox networks in the last three months, new women viewers, and UFC on Fox 1 had a higher composition of Latino viewers than the big four sports leagues.”

While much of the MMA fan base treats such analysis with scepticism, White’s points are solid. The network’s chief concern is its bottom line and if the UFC is making more money for the network in the slots it occupies, all is well.

Ever-increasing numbers would be a benefit, ever-decreasing numbers would eventually cause concern, but there will be a time allowed for numbers to level out and once the general trend is established, as long as it brings the requisite number of viewers and associated advertising dollars, both sides will be satisfied.

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