While I may have argued for a a fundamental shift in MMA’s approach to seeking legalization, I’m not naive enough to believe that the economics of the sport do not have a role in the legalization process.
The fact of the matter is it’s simply not enough to preach the virtues of MMA as a sport and expound its comparable safety record to all the public naysayers and fence-sitters. It’s now time to broach the topic of economic windfalls - MMA’s veritable ace in the hole.
We’ve all heard it countless times, “UFC events mean millions for their host communities, governments, and regulatory bodies.” But what does that really mean layman’s terms and what about non-UFC events?
In order to understand the true economic potential of MMA, you’ve first got to understand the root of MMA’s commercial success: its appeal to the male 18-34 demographic.
It’s a demographic characterized by young people that are just coming into significant quantities of disposable cash. They don’t yet have the types of cash burdens (mortgages, children, retirement plans) that will accompany them later on in life and thus, as a group, their purchasing power is literally unmatched.
And on the strength of this demographic and its purchasing power, MMA has become much more than a sport; it’s become a lifestyle complete with its own vernacular and way of dress. MMA has been able to branch out well beyond its fighting roots and into various other industries - clothing, collectibles, entertainment, and nutrition - to form what is collectively referred to as the MMA industry.
The UFC may be the only promotion raking in hundreds of millions in yearly revenue, but it’s not the only company within the industry to do so. Tapout, for example, earned nearly $120 million in revenue last year and hopes to make it $250 million this year.
But how do you quantify what all of that means to MMA’s host communities?
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