Although White doesn't think highly of those rival groups, he says he tends to see them more as a feeder system than as a legitimate threat for fans' attention and dollars:
Is White right about that?
They don't compete with us for pay-per-view money. We're just competing for talent, no doubt about it. It's all good.
Listen, I can't have every fighter in the world under contract and I only want the best. I don't want the lower level guys.
All these guys who jump into this game, I need them. The IFL has spent a lot of money. These guys have spent upwards of high-20s to $30 million in the last year of half, we have these other guys coming in spending millions of dollars, Cuban's talking about spending millions of dollars. I love it. We need all these guys. Bring all your money and jump into this thing and spend it.
Because I need guys to get a bunch of experience. Got to keep guys getting paid. And whether they like it or not, they're the farm league.
I think White is basically correct that the other organizations aren't competing for pay-per-view money: No matter whether or not Affliction does well with Banned, its Fedor Emelianenko show, I don't think the people buying that show will be any less likely to buy UFC 86 two weeks earlier or UFC 87 two weeks later.
But I'm not sure I'd agree that the other organizations are farm leagues. After all, when you look at the guys fighting on that Affliction: Banned card -- Emelianenko, Tim Sylvia, Matt Lindland, Josh Barnett, etc. -- you see a lot of names who could be contenders or even champions in UFC. Dream also has some very good fighters.
What those organizations don't have is UFC's loyal fan base. White deserves a lot of the credit for the fact that UFC is at a point where any UFC card will get more pay-per-view buyers than even a card as good as Affliction: Banned. But if Affliction can consistently put together shows like Banned, no one will be calling it a farm league.