The UFC has surpassed the NFL in terms of Instagram followers, and the promotion’s president Dana White is revelling in the good news.
The Fertitta brothers and their business partner Dana White, bought the UFC in 2001 to save it from the brink of bankruptcy. The Fertittas purchased the UFC for $2 million and created Zuffa LLC, the parent entity responsible for the UFC. With the introduction of the Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV and the rise of MMA stars including Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell, the organization has gone from strength to strength.
The company has seen rapid developments in the past 19 years. In 2012, the UFC embarked on plans to launch its women’s division, with Ronda Rousey becoming the UFC’s first signed female champ. In 2014 they announced an exclusive partnership with Reebok and in 2019 they launched a partnership with ESPN. They have had a plethora of record-shattering PPV numbers and iconic fighting moments, particularly over the last few years thanks to stars like Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jorge Masvidal.
The UFC’s surge in popularity is reflected in its social media followers. The company currently has over 17.5 million Instagram followers. The NFL currently has 16.1 million Instagram followers, a total of 1.4 million less than the UFC. The rise in followers shows a major progression for the company since the early Zuffa acquisition days.
“Yeah. In the big picture, this company—from our production to a lot of other things—we don’t get the credit we deserve for how good everybody is that works here and the product we put out, pretty much being the first true global sport,” White said.
“When you think about all these other sports and how long they’ve been trying to go global, we’ve done it in just 20 years. So we have our little wins here and there—like passing the NFL on Instagram—but I’d love to see the talented people that work here get the credit they deserve someday.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/3/2020.