Once upon a time, fans of a new and exciting sport would watch the shelves of their local video store, eyes peeled for a VHS copy of the latest available event.
Of course, there were not many copies available, as it was more a matter of supply and demand, and back then, circa 1996 through 2003, the demand simply was not that great.
Call it one of the disadvantages of being a devotee of a fringe sport.
But for the devoted, there was no choice. Waiting is what we did; we waited, and in the downtime between releases, we did our level best to spread the word.
The day when a new event (or two if you were very lucky, and those were glory days indeed) arrived, the act of gorging would begin.
There would be food and drink (much drink, usually) and combat of the most pure form available, between the best athletes in the world.
In many ways, it was easier to be a fan back then, to be honest. You knew you were going to get to see the events, and if you were lucky, you could even buy a copy and start your own fight library.
Now, the sport is so huge that it is all but impossible to see all the fights. That is both a good and bad thing, but one the true fans don’t waste their time worrying about. There is never such a thing as too many fights.
But there is such a thing as not enough.
When Blu-ray first arrived, it was coupled with HD, and to be honest, I did not expect much.
Then I saw how incredible Blu-ray could look, and suddenly I changed my mind. All I could think about is stopping my standard DVD MMA collection and get ready to begin the transition to Blu-ray, because for sure Dana White and the egg heads at Zuffa could see the writing on the wall.
And it looked like they had, to be honest.
It began with the gradual disappearance of the VHS copies they had for sale in their store. It continued with the gradual disappearance of events (UFC 39-42, and others) in standard DVD format.
For the optimist, it looked as if all our dedication and stalwart support to the sport was about to be rewarded: singular UFC events on Blu-ray, released on a timely schedule, coming soon to a retail outlet near you.
Evidentially, this type of optimism and hopeful thinking is a goofball move according to Dana White.
When asked about the topic during a post fight press conference (h/t MMAFighting.com), he brushed it off as if he knows the desires of the people so well that he can speak on their behalf.
Then he dismissed the notion outright. Clearly he thought the numbers of those interested were so small that he offered to burn them HD copies of older UFC events.
But with all due respect, I am a bit more demanding. I campaigned endlessly, tirelessly and happily for the sport, as did many others, during those times when it seemed all but dead.
That, and after seeing how quick Dana White was to omit some seriously incredible fights from the “Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights” just because he didn’t like the fighters involved…well let’s just say I don’t trust Dana White’s judgment on what I want and don’t want.
Because I am a die-hard fan, and part of having die-hard fans is accepting that they want it all, none of this should be surprising.
I want UFC 1 on Blu-ray, and what’s more, I want optional commentary of the whole event by some of the fighters of that show, and those currently fighting in the UFC. In short, I’d like the special features to be special.
I want UFC’s 1 – 44 to be released on Blu-ray first, so my collection can have a strong foundation without that gaping hole spanning through UFC 23 – UFC 29.
After that, I want the UFC to begin catching up with events 45 and on, while at the same time releasing all current events in Blu-ray as well as standard DVD, so fans have the option to chose what they want.
And that’s not all. I also want all seasons of The Ultimate Fighter to be in Blu-ray, past, present and future.
And I want the whole back library of Pride on Blu-ray as well, especially the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix.
And if that sounds like I am bitching, well remember, I am willing to pay high dollar for it. Want to charge me $25.00 for UFC 1 on Blu-ray? I’ll pay it, as long as the transfer is good.
Want me to pay $45 to $50.00 for the Blu-ray version of The Ultimate Fighter season 1? I’ll be there with money in hand, ready and willing.
I want my fight library, and it must include the UFC on Blu-ray. Standard DVD’s will be obsolete soon enough as it is, so why not make the transfer now? Several releases have both the standard DVD and the Blu-ray version all in one package; the UFC could do the same thing until everyone has caught up to the HD revolution.
Dana White used to talk about how far the sport has come, and as a point of reference, he mentions that porn was allowed on PPV while the UFC was not.
Now that Blu-ray is here to stay, I hope he doesn't let the adult industry come in ahead of him in the technology race.