Martial arts industry

Martial arts since the 1970s has become a significant industry, a subset of the wider sport industry (including cinema and sports television). Hundreds of millions of people worldwide practice some form of martial art. Web Japan (sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide.[18] The South Korean government in 2009 published an estimate that Taekwondo is practiced by 70 million people in 190 countries.[19] The wholesale value of martial arts related sporting equipment shipped in the United States was estimated at 314 million USD in 2007; participation in the same year was estimated at 6.9 million (ages 6 or older, 2% of US population).[20] R. A. Court, CEO of Martial Arts Channel, stated the total revenue of the US martial arts industry at USD 40 billion and the number of US practitioners at 30 million in 2003.[21] Ultimate Fighting Championship generated a revenue of about USD 250 million in 2008, about 90% of the entire Mixed Martial Arts industry. World Wrestling Entertainment had a revenue of USD 1.4 billion. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world,[3] which hosts most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport[4][5] and produces events worldwide.[6] Based in the United States, the UFC has eight weight divisions and enforces the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.[7] Dana White serves as the president of the UFC while Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta control the UFC's parent company, Zuffa, LLC.[8][9][10] The first UFC event was held in 1993 in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the event was to identify the most effective martial art in a real fight between competitors of different fighting disciplines, including boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, wrestling, Muay Thai, karate and other styles. In subsequent competitions, fighters began adopting effective techniques from more than one discipline, which indirectly helped create an entirely separate style of fighting known as present-day mixed martial arts.[11] With a cable-television deal and expansion into Canada, Europe, Australia[12] the Middle East,[13] Asia[14] and new markets within the United States, the UFC as of 2011 has gained in popularity, along with greater mainstream-media coverage. As of 2001 viewers can access UFC programming on pay-per-view television in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Italy. UFC programming can also be found on FX, Fuel TV, and Fox[15] in the U.S., on ESPN in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, as well as in 150 countries and 22 different languages worldwide. UFC also carries a mobile site for on-the-go users and a Sports Bars page for fans to find places showing the pay-per-view.[16] It is also available on the Roku streaming player.