Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

Once branded as human cockfighting and plagued by its own blood-soaked marketing, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the sport of mixed martial arts almost collapsed before it ever really got started.

The sport, a unique blend of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing and kickboxing, was banned in much of the country in the late 1990s. But through a combination of aggressive new ownership, sanctioning in pivotal states, and a hot cable television product featuring charismatic stars, UFC is undergoing a successful image remodel.

One thing is quickly becoming understood — mixed martial arts is heading for the mainstream of American sport, whether or not the mainstream is ready. UFC is coming off the biggest event in its history, UFC 57 on Feb. 4, in which light heavyweight champion Chuck Lidell defended his title against former champion Randy Couture.

UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is the biggest star in mixed martial arts. The show drew a sellout of 10,301 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for a paying gate of $3.3 million; another sellout of 2,000 watched the fight at the site on closed-circuit TV; and early pay-per view estimates are 350,000 buys. A live fight special leading up to the show on Spike TV on Jan. 16 drew more viewers than a much-hyped Miami Heat-Los Angeles Lakers game on ESPN the same night.

In fact, nearly 4,000 people showed up for a midweek weigh-in. Contrast that to when Liddell and Couture first fought in 2003, when there were just over 4,000 paid admissions. "I'm kind of surprised with how fast this has all happened," said the 37-year old Liddell. "People are finally starting to understand what we're all about."
FoxSports, March 9, 2006

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Ultimate Fighting on Verge of Explosion
Category: SPORTS
By: Pete Kendall, March 10, 2006
According to the Wave Principle, we’ve been in a bull market at Grand Supercycle degree for more than 200 years, so it’s hard to imagine what a bear market sport would be like. We envision something along the lines of boxing, where it’s man against man. There is no ball to displace man’s natural aggression and no hoop to make us focus on any loftier ambition than survival.
The Elliott Wave Theorist, December 1996

As baseball heads out, bloodsports head in.
Ryan Gordon

The sport certainly appears to be locked into the emergence of the bear market in social mood. Ultimate Fighting Championships has been out there for more than a decade, but, as the article notes, it “almost collapsed before it ever really got started.” The bull market had it on the ropes in the late 1990s when it was banned in many states. In 1999, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was approaching its all-time peak, Sen. John McCain wrote letters to governors in all 50 states asking them to ban the sport. Most complied. “UFC was on life support in the late 1990s,” says another part of the above article. One of the current owners, who purchased the rights to UFC in 2000, said, “Every indicator at the time said it was a bad business move.” The “turnaround” came “in earnest when it received sanctioning form the Nevada athletic commission in 2001,” the first full year of the bear market. Notice the timing of EWFFs initial observations about the sport in January 2003 – that was right between the lows of October 2002 and March 2003. Later that year, in June of 2003, the market was well into its countertrend rally when the first Liddell-Couture fight occurred. That fight drew a disappointing total of 4,000 fans. Now the champ, Liddell, says things are “happening fast.”  Regular readers of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast  and Theorist know why.

Additional References
January 2003, EWFF
A sport that is essentially bullish can get only so bearish. To suit a bear market of high degree, entire new forms of athletic competition will emerge. In our 1996 report [“Basketball and the Bull Market”], we noted that after 200 years of rising stock prices, it is “hard to imagine what a bear market sport would be like. We envision something along the lines of boxing, where it’s man against man. There is no ball to displace man’s natural aggression and no hoop to make us focus on any loftier ambition than survival.” The rising game on the scene is just such a sport. Ultimate fighting is a brutal, free-form mix of wrestling, boxing, jujitsu and whatever else it takes to pound an adversary into submission. The sport was born in the last major correction of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it was outlawed in many states and fell into obscurity as the bull market took off in the mid-1990s. In recent months, however, it has “quietly blossomed,” with participants and matches throughout the United States. “Today, no-holds-barred fighting is no longer a secret society. The sport has shed its underground feel. Mixed martial arts training clubs are sprouting up everywhere, especially in Southern California and Las Vegas.” November brought the sport’s “coming-out party” as more than 13,700 fans attended the ultimate fighting Championships at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It was the city’s largest live crowd for any boxing or martial arts card this year. New safety restrictions and the posting of odds by Vegas bookies has brought ultimate fighting matches a new air of legitimacy. Most people still find it hard to watch, but a growing core of supporters and participants describe it as an intense adrenaline rush. In coming months, you will be surprised at how many of your neighbors end up watching the exciting agony of a savage beating, and not just in their stock portfolio.

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