Dana White took some time out of his busy schedule to big up his org’s untouchable #1 position while simultaneously shit talking ‘Viacom MMA’:
“They’re never going to be as good as us,” UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “This is what we do 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christmas. Easter. Let Christmas time come. Viacom shuts down from Dec. 3 to after the new year and then all the big holidays in between. Christmas? I’m on the f—ing phone on Christmas. Easter? I’m on the phone. Thanksgiving? I’m on the phone. Bad s–t happens in our business every day, and if something real bad happens, I’m on a f—ing plane on Christmas Day flying to fix it. That’s the difference between us and everybody else.
“Nobody’s ever going to outwork us or outhustle us. That’s just never going to happen. It’s impossible.”
And Dana has some reasons for being smug. After a season of solid but not spectacular ratings for Bellator on Thursday night, things have gotten a bit bumpy for the de facto #2 promotion in America. There’s that news that their next season is being moved to Friday, also known as the stinking asshole of TV scheduling. And then their Summer Series, playing on Wednesday without TNA Wrestling as a lead in, pulled 480,000 viewers – half the number their Thursday shows did.
That’s bad. That’s really really bad. And with their much ballyhooed Fight Master show pulling in similar ‘half’ numbers, the big questions become “How much does Bellator cost Viacom” and “How long will Viacom give Bellator to catch on before they decide to murder it in its crib?”
Bigwig media conglomerate execs aren’t known for keeping things on TV for very long if the ratings aren’t up to snuff. Bellator might have an advantage in that Viacom is going for a long game strategy here with MMA, but that can only save them for so long. If Friday nights suck as hard as Wednesday night or even harder (a very real possibility), will Viacom be willing to continue supporting Bellator? Will they put the money in they’d need to compete for the attention of MMA fans against the UFC? Or will they just decide people are into UFC and not MMA and pull the plug on a promotion that managed to do a pretty amazing job until it got stuck in a tug of war between a monolithic media empire and the UFC.