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Volume 24 No. 156
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Dana White Not Worried About Declining UFC PPV Numbers, Talks Up Global Strategy

UFC President Dana White brought his usual high level of energy to a conversation led by Ben Grossman of Selhurst Media at Day 2 of the '14 NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference. White’s most emphatic point centered on countering reports that waning PPV numbers this year signaled trouble for UFC. “This year, yeah, pay-per-view numbers are down, but this business isn’t what everybody thinks it is,” he said. “Trust me, we love pay- per-view. When these big events happen, the pay-per-view numbers will come back. But we’re much more than a pay-per-view company.” White highlighted UFC’s broadcast deal with Fox, the popularity of the reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” and the growth of the brand in global markets -- including the announcement of a forthcoming fight in a 45,000-seat arena in Sweden -- as signs of his company’s health. “Every time we go into these other countries, it just keeps building more and more momentum,” he said. “We hear all of this negative stuff here in the United States because they don’t get the whole global strategy. ... We’re killing it in all of these other countries.”

* On women’s fighting and Ronda Rousey: “I never saw a day where the women would get to a level that they could fight in the UFC, and, man, was I wrong. I am so blown away and impressed by these women fighters. Ronda Rousey has changed women’s sports. ... It’s unbelievable what a huge talent she is, what an amazing superstar she has become for us and how she has just changed the face of women’s sports.”

* On competing MMA leagues: “There’s always going to be other people out there and we need those people to exist. Not everybody can fight in the UFC. There has to be a place where younger talent can go and make money, build their records and then someday end up in the UFC. It’s definitely not a bad thing.”

* On buying Bellator: “There’s just no value there. ... If they called me today and they wanted me to do a deal with those guys, there’s literally no contracts over there that I would be interested in.”

* On domestic violence: “We screen people for ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and if you’ve ever had a domestic violence, you can’t get on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Since this whole thing happened, we’re beefing up our policies with putting your hands on a woman. ... [The] Ray Rice thing, as horrible as it was, is actually turning out to be a very positive thing because a lot of these leagues are really looking into this and trying to make a difference.”