UFC president has been consistent in denying that his company and mixed martial arts in general have gone mainstream… yet.
That is of course the plan. White is a believe that MMA will eventually be “the biggest sport in the world.” But that takes time, and although the UFC has made tremendous strides in its popularity, it doesn’t yet compete, at least in America, with the NFL, NBA, or MLB for mainstream popularity.
The UFC is on its way, however, as noted by the Sports Business Journal’s recent list of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. The dynamic duo of UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and company president Dana White debuted on the annual list this year at No. 41, marking the company’s emergence in the mainstream world of sports.
“In the last decade, the Las Vegas billionaire and his bombastic front man have taken the UFC from outlawed to in thing,” SBJ commented on the pair. “A move to the Fox family of networks, coupled with expansion into South America and Asia, made 2011 a watershed year.”
The deal with Fox, as White often says, is a milestone for the company, positioning it to make significant headway into the mainstream sports market, consistently being promoted during Fox Sports’ other major league offerings, such as the NFL and Major League Baseball.
Fertitta and White fall well behind the heads of other sporting leagues, such as MLB’s Bud Selig at No. 2 and the NFL’s Roger Goodell at No. 4. It should be noted, however, that the head of the UFC’s new television partners, David Hill, the chairman of Fox Sports, is listed as the No. 5 power player in the world of sports business.