Has the UFC Reached a Point of Market Saturation, or Is There Room to Grow?

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: UFC President Dana White speaks during a press conference promoting UFC 145: Jones v Evans at Philips Arena on February 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIFebruary 17, 2012

As the UFC is now, they are dangerously close to giving fans too much of the same product. The UFC can still expand, but to do so they would need to make some changes.

For hardcore MMA fans, it won't matter if the product stays the same, because we love it anyway. From minor shows on Showtime to Internet streaming of local promotions, we'll watch it all. But the casual fan just knows about the UFC and without something novel being injected into the equation from time to time, they grow bored.

While there are franchises like the NFL that can survive the test of time, it is worth mentioning that they see an injection of new characters and talent every few years. Teams even change their colors or uniforms from time to time, and new stadiums have been built.

Even something as static as football can remain, but football also has something the UFC doesn't have. They have an offseason. MMA is something we can see 12 months out of the year, and while that is great for fans, it does leave us a little spoiled.

There is no longer a wait for weeks on end for the next pay-per-view or event. Now there are, sometimes, several events each month with fans angry if something doesn't live up to their expectations or even up to last week's fights.

There is no way to savor fights when they are given out freely all the time. The natural buildup that comes from a fan's longing to see more of the sport he loves can't be replaced by a slew of great fights.

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: Fighter Rashad Evans poses with fans after a press conference promoting UFC 145: Jones v Evans at Philips Arena on February 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

There is nothing that equals the UFC in MMA—they have the winning formula and everyone either tries to copy them or they are stuck in a niche in the sport.  That means that almost any televised event is going to have the same feel, music, announcers and fighters that fans have grown used to seeing.

That can get monotonous. When PRIDE existed, fans had a chance to see to different products and groups of fighters. Even the rules were different.

While the UFC should never switch their rules for certain events, they can at least take a page from PRIDE and allow their fighters to have over the top entrances along with fireworks. They need to make some tweaks if they want to keep captivating crowds.

They need to find a way to change themselves and reinvent the product, or it is going to get old fast.

And that is something no one wants to watch.


Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report.  He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.

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