Benson Henderson is becoming the UFC’s mainstream poster boy, and that’s the way he likes it. As the lightweight champ looks to perform on his third FOX broadcast (second headline) against Gilbert Melendez, he clarifies that this is by preference.
“(I felt) probably pretty much the same, but it was taken very well. I did a pretty good job. I earned a ‘W.’ But, just the number of people who tuned in for the main event, 5.5 million, that’s a lot of people. That smashes any pay-per-view numbers. A lot of guys talk about pay-per-view buys. I don’t give a crap about pay-per-view stuff. I like fighting on the biggest platform and FOX is that platform. I’m excited to be on FOX for the second time in a row. I think that it shows the trust the UFC top brass and the FOX top brass have in me. They think I’ll portray the sport in the right manner. I think it’s the cool to have that bigger platform. 5.5 million viewers and the core demographic of males, but it’s great to be watched by soccer moms who are flipping channels, they stop and watch and become fans. I go to the grocery store now, 50-year-old soccer moms say, ‘I saw you on TV.’ I really dig that, and it only happened after being on that big of a platform.” via MMAFighting.com
There is no word as to the full perks of serving a broadcast UFC event over a pay-per-view event for a fighter, except for the obvious exposure advantage which Henderson mentions. We do know that many of the headliners of pay-per-view events do earn a percentage of the sales. With that said, the FOX exposure is likely the better gamble in the long run for a champ looking to up his stock quickly. As exposure increases, so does fighters sponsorship income, and opportunities. For the champ, its more about who sees you, than who’s paying.