Steve Cofield gave Rear Naked News a mention on his blog. Here is the original story he quoted. I disagree with his thoughts on hardcore fans, so here is a brief rebuttal.
The basic problem with Cofield's argument is he fails to realize the influence of hardcore fans. Simply because there are more casual fans, it does not mean hardcore fans are not important to MMA promotions. Without the dialogue of diehard MMA fans, the sport would grind to a halt between each event. They fill the dead air and it is their conversations which ultimately influence others. When a casual MMA fan goes online for content, they cannot go to ESPN for the latest news. They have to go to sites run by hardcore fans. Their main source of news comes from them. These sites feed the casual fan and make it possible for them to ultimately become more interested in the sport.
It is not just news sites and blogs, either. The message boards serve the same purpose. Diehards talk about the sport and new fans feed upon it. They learn about its past and why certain things matter and others do not. They relate to the guy who hates EliteXC or the poster who loves Fedor. It supplies their newfound addiction.
So do not tell me hardcore fans mean nothing to EliteXC and Affliction. If that is the case, they are even more clueless than I thought.