During a recent episode of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV, a visibly angry White unleashed a firestorm of heated words about his company's promotional rival, prompted in an interview lead by show host Chael Sonnen.
The lawyer for Bellator? He's either the biggest moron in the history of the world or a liar. For this guy to go out there and say that Spike and Fox are exactly the same—that they're comparable—is the most ridiculous statement ever made in the history of the world, to compare [the] Fox Network to Spike TV.
How many critically acclaimed programs does Spike TV have? What kind of numbers does Spike TV pull every week? Our prelims on FX pull bigger numbers than their live main events do! You know what I mean? On FX! Let's not even talk about Fox. Fox shouldn't even be in the discussion.
At a glance, White seems to be on the money when he describes the current discrepancy in total viewers between the two competing MMA promotions in 2013.
By contrast, the UFC is doing much better on Fox's networks (via MMA Weekly, Yahoo):
• Bellator 85—938,000 viewers
• Bellator 86—812,000 viewers
• UFC on FX 7 Prelims (Fuel TV)—255,000 viewers
• UFC on FX 7—1,900,000 viewers
• TUF 17, Ep. 1—1,512,000 viewers
• UFC on Fox 6 Prelims (FX)—1,200,000 viewers
• UFC on Fox 6—4,200,000 viewers
Clearly, the 2013 war for ratings is favoring the UFC.
However, the UFC also has the advantage of national distribution on larger networks. Additionally, most UFC programming is spread out on three channels, compared to Viacom's sole efforts on SPIKE.
White also gave a vehement criticism of Viacom's claims that they "built" the UFC, stating that misconceptions like is one of the main reasons fighters like free agent Eddie Alvarez suffer in contract disputes:
Eddie Alvarez is getting screwed big time. The judge? He's not educated on television, television networks, on pay-per-view—I've said this before. The thing is too, that drives me crazy, it's not Spike TV. It's Viacom. There's a pompous, arrogant clown that runs Viacom, his name is Philippe Dauman. This guy has claimed that he built the UFC. Claims he built the UFC. Let me remind everybody, the UFC was a time buy on Spike TV.
We paid 10 million dollars to be in a time buy on Spike TV. They act like they were these geniuses that saw this sport coming. Then, when we moved on to Fox—Fox is such a massive, incredible platform, a global, massive platform. No two play-per-views are created equal. Comparing Spike TV to Fox is a joke and it's horrible what's happening to Eddie Alvarez.
Bellator isn't battling just for top-flight talent either, as the promotion recently struck a major deal with UFC Hall-of-Famer and former two-division champion Randy Couture.
Although Dana White claimed that he "loved" the news, the fact remains that Couture is one of the more famous men in MMA. His presence on Bellator and SPIKE programming could draw critical eyes to the UFC's rival network over the years, even though the retired legend won't be fighting in any tournaments.