What is UFC president Dana White thankful for this Thanksgiving day?
That’s a pretty easy one this year. Marking a milestone in the company’s history, White is definitely thankful for the UFC’s new television deal with Fox… and he’s made no secret of it.
“This is the deal that I’ve always wanted; we got exactly what we wanted,” White told MMAWeekly.com’s Erik Fontanez back in August when the deal went down, the UFC exec’s infamous Cheshire grin stretching from ear to ear.
“Take the UFC out of it and all the other stuff. Now these athletes that you know, I know, and everybody watching knows deserves to be up there on this platform up there with the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the list goes on and on, now the rest of the world knows.”
That was, of course, well before the Nov. 12 UFC on Fox when challenger Junior dos Santos knocked then-champion Cain Velasquez out a little more than a minute into what was the only fight of the UFC’s coming out party on Fox.
White did come off a little perturbed in the post-fight commentary on the telecast, but rumors of him being disappointed with the broadcast are highly exaggerated. In fact, his reaction was quite the opposite, especially when the TV ratings came back indicating that the UFC on Fox 1 telecast peaked at 8.8 million viewers.
“I hear all kinds of rumors about ‘oh, I hear he was flipping out after the fight.’ No, I wasn’t flipping out,” he said when asked about his post-fight reaction to UFC on Fox 1. “(But) yes, I did jump on a table and send everybody home. It’s true. I was pretty excited.”
White was ecstatic with the success of UFC on Fox 1, but not surprised. He expected they would draw a large audience, and believes the number could have been much, much bigger if the fight would have been something more akin to Saturday night’s UFC 139 main event.
“I thought we could pull a big number. The tough part with the whole thing is, you never know how long the fight is gonna go. What worried me was, the thing never had time to peak, and get where it could have,” White said, explaining his initial trepidation about how the fight might fare.
“If you could have a Shogun/Henderson type fight on TV, imagine what that number would get to.”
Still, you can bet that White is giving thanks for UFC on Fox this Thanksgiving.
“I wouldn’t change a thing; it was perfect. It was a great looking sporting event. The show came off professional like a Fox Sports show.
“I’m pretty happy.”