“Because I don’t care what colour you are , what language you speak , what country you come from… at the end of the day we are all human beings and fighting its on our DNA..we get it and we like it”
- Dana White
The above video features an excerpt of an interview Forbes magazine evidently conducted with Dana White in June of 2011. I’ve taken the liberty of outlining the main talking points:
- Dana feels that the UFC has a reputation for being “anti-competition” but in fact value their competitors. He mentions this in the context of the Strikeforce acquisition so seems to be implying the UFC welcomes competitors because they need more fighters.
- Dana explains that the UFC resisted outside investors because they brought nothing to the table except of course the capital. He explains that they sold 10% of Zuffa to Flash Entertainment because they considered them to be a strategic partner. Specifically, he mentions their contacts in countries like China and the UK.
- Dana seems to be hesitant to consider taking the company public as he enjoys the control he and the Fertitta’s have now. In his words, it wouldn’t be “fun”.
- When asked to project revenue over the course of the next 3 years Dana doesn’t really answer the question but instead speaks to how the UFC transcends borders and languages and how he sees it as a global sport.
- Most interestingly, Dana states that MMA is the new “martial art” and it is expanding to women, children, and businessmen. On other words, people who do not conform to the typical “cagefighter” archetype are taking MMA classes.
I will most likely come back to many of the the above points in future posts but the last entry seemed most interesting to me. Is their an abundance of women and children and “businessmen” (Dana’s euphemism for wimps?) taking MMA classes where there weren’t before? Well, probably. According to an article by mmabusiness.com which actually came out a month before Dana’s interview, some gym owners “have seen major growth with women in MMA”. That said, the same article tempers that statement by making it clear gym owners still need to work hard to capture the projected 85% of women that aren’t interested in fighting at all.
Coincidentally, another article published in May 2011 at the observer outlined a new MMA gym opening in Sarnia Ontario that would cater to a variety of MMA enthusiasts. The article states “But the bulk of the business will be the “something for everyone” market where clients of all ages and both sexes can join the gym, get in shape and hone some MMA skills. Children’s classes are for eight to 14 year olds. Anyone 15 and older can buy a full membership for classes and open gym training. There will be a women’s only class and one for parents and kids to train together.”
It seems fair to say that the growth of MMA has a sport and facilitation of overall health and wellness is at least *starting* to spill over to the female demographic. It also seems like there is a very real opportunity to exploit here as not many gyms are making real strides to capture that market (the example of the gym in Sarnia is an outlier). On the other hand, taking steps to market your gym to women could be a costly proposition and it would be difficult to argue your time and resources as a gym owner would be better directed to a demographic with more potential.
Perhaps a more compelling approach to this market would be to launch a home fitness DVD incorporating MMA elements and target it to women? Consider, a DVD similarly constructed and marketed like GSP’s “Rushfit” (which became the #1 selling fitness DVD series of all time by a professional athlete in only its first year of distribution) except instead of GSP someone like Gina Carano or Ronda Rousey is on the cover?