Published Thursday, April 16, 2009 | 2:30 a.m.
Updated Thursday, April 16, 2009 | 11:43 a.m.
If Dana White needed further proof for his theory that mixed martial arts will someday soon overtake boxing, the UFC president got it last weekend.
Spike TV’s replay of UFC 94 (B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre) Saturday was the highest-rated cable program among men ages 18-49. It drew a 1.4 household rating with an average audience of 1.9 million viewers.
In comparison, HBO's live boxing match on April 11 between Winky Wright and Paul Williams drew 1.5 million viewers.
The UFC replay from the Jan. 31 event held at MGM Grand also went head to head with Showtime's presentation of "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz" in San Jose, Calif. That event, according to Fightticker.com, drew 364,000 viewers for a rating of 0.64. But Showtime is a premium channel, and thus viewed in considerably fewer homes.
While White and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker seem to have a friendly relationship, at least publicly, it’s likely the UFC’s counter-programming won’t stop anytime soon now that Strikeforce plans to broadcast several events a year.
It’s a move that mirrors how the UFC countered the first Affliction show last summer, by airing a live UFC Fight Night with star Anderson Silva.
Affliction won’t challenge: Earlier in the week, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told MMAjunkie.com that his company will not try and counter UFC 100 in July.
“"That's all rumors, and that's just what people think," said Atencio, who attended the Strikeforce event. "In my eyes, it's not even a possibility. It doesn't make sense."
Atencio went on to say he envisioned Strikeforce and Affliction both surviving (Strikeforce fighters wore Affliction gear Saturday, a definite no-no for UFC guys) in an MMA market dominated by the UFC.
"The UFC likes to crush. That's what they do, and that's what they've done,” he said. “They don't want competition, and that's evident by them putting on the free event on Saturday, replaying (UFC 94).
"But it is what it is. (Strikeforce) was a successful show. You saw the amount of people in there. If we can all three stay in, then great. If not, then I guess the strong will survive."
Speaking of survival: White’s video blog might not be gone after all.
Just two weeks after saying his pre-event “vlog” would disappear after a controversial post put White under intense scrutiny, the UFC’s main man reappeared on a video that showed him driving to Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport to head towards Canada — site of Saturday’s UFC 97.
A duct tape White didn’t talk in the two-minute long video, instead expressing his statements by holding up signs.
White talked with Canadian media outlets about the repercussions from his video blog from UFC Fight Night 18, where he went off in an expletive-filled tirade against Sherdog.com reporter Loretta Hunt for her story that criticized how the UFC’s credentials fighters’ managers.
White, who later issued a vlog apology for his derogatory wording towards gays and lesbians, clarified the UFC’s credentialing process for managers and journalists.
Around the Octagon and beyond: The Nevada State Athletic Commission granted Mark Coleman a license for his UFC 100 bout against Stephan Bonnar. … the UFC has confirmed a rumored welterweight fight between Jon Fitch and Paulo Thiago for its historic July event. … Chuck Liddell told Yahoo’s Cage Writer that his engagement is off. … Lyoto Machida believes ‘The Spider’ could beat Fedor. … Browning Part II won’t happen. … Tapout’s Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr. honored at memorial. … Tito Ortiz says he could be back in six months. … Kim Couture to fight at Strikeforce’s May 15 "ShoMMA” event.