I'm current in South Korea and K-1 is on their version of ESPN nearly every night. Also every UFC PPV is on free here and I guess that's the case in a lot of Asia.
fullerene is right, watch some PRIDE DVDs and you'll here them talking about 80-100k size crowds all the time. You can see it in the crowd shots. Many foreign fighters (Fedor, Cro Cop, Coleman, Sapp and others) make a good amount of cash sponsoring main stream products like Gillette, Dole (Remember that Coleman pic?
) They had lots of popularity just from being in PRIDE.
Not that Wiki is always accurate, but for what it's worth:
PRIDE Fighting Championships was initially conceived in 1997 by Kakutougi Revolution Spirits to match popular Japanese pro-wrestler Nobuhiko Takada with Rickson Gracie, the purported champion of the Gracie family of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. The event, held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997 attracted 47,000 fans, as well as Japanese mass media attention.
In August 2002, PRIDE teamed up with Japan's leading kickboxing and fight promotion, K-1, and held the worlds biggest fight event, Shockwave (known as PRIDE/K-1 Dynamite!! in Japan), which attracted over 90,000 fans.