By simply existing the UFC will keep Affliction alive, much to the chagrin of UFC President Dana White.
During yesterday's teleconference, White stated that he wasn't worried about his competitor and that they would be out of business by January. It seems White has forgotten his early days with the UFC when they were tens of millions of dollars in debt, but still putting on shows.
The UFC's initial struggles occurred during a different era. Before the huge PPV events, television series built around a cast of fighters battling for a contract, and MMA being sponsored by blue chip companies like Anheuser-Busch.
Interestingly enough, all of these huge leaps are directly linked to the UFC, and they all make it easier for an MMA company to exist. If it's Bud Light for the UFC, why not Miller Lite for Affliction?
More important than sponsors and reality shows, the UFC has shown that an MMA production company can make money. Lots of money. With a company worth nearly $1 billion, and expecting revenues of $250 million for 2008, mixed martial arts is suddenly an attractive investment.
While the UFC relied on personal investments from the Fertittas brothers to keep the UFC in business during the early years, the company now fields offers from private equity firms and media companies.
These same businesses need not look any further than Affliction for a place to sink their money since the UFC isn't selling. If this happens to be the case then Affliction won't run out of money anytime soon, and every event they put on will push the brand deeper into the consciousness of fans.
For all of White's ranting and put downs of the "t-shirt company" turned MMA promotion he should realize that all Affliction needs to do to make it is copy the UFC's formula. Think Coke and Pepsi, McDonald's and Burger King. Similar products sold to the same market—both very successful, both very profitable.
The UFC's biggest threat is the playbook they already wrote. Affliction just needs to be smart enough to follow it to success.
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