UFC President Dana White says the sport was inspired by people wondering what would happen if fighters from different martial arts disciplines fought against each other. Was judo superior to karate, or kung fu to kick boxing?
At the time Mr. White and two partners bought UFC about five years ago, he said it was practically dead. They started to build popularity first with pay-per-view events, and then the deal with Spike.
"We knew what we needed to do was get this on TV and it would take off," says Mr. White, citing a recent UFC event that drew 17,000 people in Anaheim, Calif.
UFC programming has attracted integrated product deals for Spike from Coors Brewing Co., Amp'd Mobile and Xyience. " 'The Ultimate Fighter' program provides us with exceptional ratings against our target audience, men 21-34," comments Stevie Benjamin, media director for Coors. "We look to reach them via anything they're passionate about-and right now, that's Ultimate Fighting."