UFC and the Game of Monopoly

James Ryan

In the 80’s, customers were of the mind-set that “[they would] continue to do business with you until you gave [them] a reason to leave.” With so much competition these days, the mind-set is now “[they] will LEAVE unless you give [them] a reason to stay.” That’s business in the 21st century – like it or not.

For the consumer, it’s great! The more choices, the better.

It forces each business to compete for their attention and hard-earned dollar. The standard of service must be elevated and the business has a strong incentive to never take their customers for granted.

For the business owners, however, it means that they must continuously earn their customer’s trust and develop strong, positive relationships. They must be willing to provide exceptional, bend-over backwards service to their customers. Loyalty will only be reciprocated once it has first been established by the business owner. Not the other way around.

Result: the customer (MMA fan) owes the business (UFC) nothing. They are free to watch and support any MMA organization that they choose.

Hypothetical scenario: How will this business principle change if the UFC were to suddenly become a monopoly? It depends on who is asking.

Plausible Company Perspective (Snapshot): “Wonderful”

If the fans don’t like what the UFC are doing or how they treat their fighters, they will be encouraged to “tune in elsewhere” – knowing of course, that this would not be an option.

Something that I hear quite frequently while teaching customer service is the old mistake, “if you don’t like it, get the hell out!” This is a much easier statement to make when you don’t have any competition.

It’s what I call the “revolving door of business.” Take their money – kick them in the behind on the way out – who cares if they ever come back?

Without choice – the MMA fan could be forced to grudgingly accept the terms and conditions as set forth by the UFC ownership.

For now, if the greedy and powerful UFC President Dana White is holding back, I wouldn’t want to see what would happen to his attitude if he suddenly had carte blanche to behave any way that he wanted.

Plausible Fan Perspective (Snapshot): “Unfair”

Things might not seem all that bad now fight fans, but that’s only because a monopoly hasn’t happened yet. Once it does, the fans will be the ones who suffer the most – not the UFC corporate ownership.

I love MMA. I just don’t believe that a monopoly is healthy in any industry (cell phone companies, banks, etc.) – despite whatever good things may have been done in the past.

Right now, some of you may have taken offence to my calling Dana White “greedy”, but please do not be fooled: The promotion of MMA and all of the good things that have happened to this sport over the past decade, have nothing to do with legitimizing the sport that we all love. It’s all about the money.

It’s only ever been about the money.

These are my opinions. If you don`t like them…I have others. Check them out at www.mrjamesryan.com

James Ryan
James Ryan


  1. Bob

    Great article man! It really puts things into perspective though, because as harsh as it is, the way Dana and the UFC markets itself is a perfect example of how to run a successful business. Is it bad for the fighters and the fans who choose not to support them?? Yes, but sometimes things just have to be like that.

  2. James

    Thanks Bob. I'm glad that you liked it.

    “the way Dana and the UFC markets itself is a perfect example of how to run a successful business”

    With the “revolving door of business”, only time will tell whether or not the business model of the UFC is successful or not.

    How is success measured in business? Is it about money? Is it about happy customers? Is it about notoriety?

    Another issue that I plan on speaking about is the issue of branding and marketing. Two ways to think here:

    1. The UFC has done an excellent job of marketing to the exact clientele that they want.

    2. Bob Arum was in some way correct and the UFC has limited their demographic by alienating larger population groups.

    Thanks again.

  3. James

    Wow, it's always great to get an honour from one of your peers.
    Thanks Joseph.


  4. James

    Figures…. :(

    The guy who wrote the article and praised my work is no longer writing on Bleacher Report.

  5. Don

    Wonderful Article

  6. Donnie

    Wonderful Article Man!

  7. Donnie

    Wonderful Article Man!

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