There is a ton of support for MMA outside of the US, the problem is that outside of Pride there aren't many organizations left to support them in different parts of the world so most of the worlds best fighters have to come to the US to fight.
And again I'd like to see where you're getting your numbers are far as viewership is concerned.
PRIDE is, as I mentioned before, defunct. Their assets were purchased by UFC. Go to Pride's website now and its "upcoming events" are all UFC.
And what is your source for saying that the Gracies held MMA (as opposed to Brazilian jiu jitsu - remember it has to be mixed martial arts) competitions prior to UFC?
I can't prove evidence of something that doesn't exist - my whole point was that MMA has not caught on even measurably internationally. You say that there is a ton of support of MMA internationally - my question is where you get THAT from. It appears that MMA competitions are illegal in many countries, including Thailand (the native country of Muay Thai) and Canada. Eurosport's MMA page has nothing but stories on UFC. BBC sports has pages for the various Olympic combat sports, including boxing and judo, but nothing for MMA. Reuters India doesn't have any combat sports pages (though it does have Olympics news - which again, includes boxing, judo, and taekwondo, but nothing for MMA). PRIDE was by far the largest Japanese MMA company, but it's gone now.
So show me something showing that there is this "ton of support for MMA outside of the US." I can't prove the non-existence of something, but you certainly should be able to provide evidence if there truly is a "ton" of support for it.
I'll make a counter-proposition, though, and maybe you'll admit that this is true - because most of the various martial arts disciplines practiced in MMA competitions originated outside the United States, you assumed that MMA itself was popularized outside the United States.
In contrast, I would argue combat sports are often deeply imbedded in and tied to the cultures in which they originate. Consequently, the desire to see mixed combat sports competitions is likely to be stronger in diverse, multiethnic countries with significant populations of people practicing multiple styles of martial arts. Outside of the English-speaking world, there aren't a lot of countries that fit that description.
Edited by niremetal, 18 June 2012 - 04:47 PM.