Having the UFC monopoly is the worst possible thing for the world of MMA.
It’s a known fact that competition brings out the best for the companies and us, the fans. At the end of the day we want to be entertained and we want to see the best in the world fight against the best in the world. That’s why we want to see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao so badly while the two are near their primes. We want to be entertained in our combat sports.
That’s where having a monopoly can hurt that prospect. By the UFC being the only game in town all of a sudden the guys who aren’t in want to get in and the people who are in want to fight to keep their spot. This leads to a couple of things.
One is the influx of the safe game plans that many fighters are using more and more of, even diverting from their regular ways to win a safe fight. Take Condit-Diaz, for example. Condit decided to not go out on what has made him such an engaging and fan favorite fighter. Instead, he decided on a heavy counter attack. While on one hand it was smart because Diaz just wants to put you up against the cage and brawl, for the most part to the fans that paid the gate and watched the PPV it was lackluster and frustrating because Condit didn’t actively engage like we’re used to.
This is where the problem of having the only game in town comes in. There’s a level of comfort and looseness that comes along with being the only top level MMA organization out there. Just think how much of a game change there would be if there were another MMA organization outside of the UFC that paid just as well if not much better than Zuffa. It would benefit the fighters also.
Is MMA benefiting from the UFC monopoly?
With all that said having competition solves that problem. If Strikeforce were a viable MMA option like it was almost threatening to be before the Zuffa purchase, then the UFC and its fighters would compete for MMA supremacy, which would lead to not only the best fights but some of the best fight performances also.
The big question, however, is "how can you have competition in the MMA universe when there are no viable competitors on the horizon?" Unfortunately, there is no one great fix for this issue. Right now there is not even the slightest hint of competition from anybody outside of the Zuffa umbrella. The only other promotions that can even be mentioned are Bellator, ONE Fighting Championship based in Hong Kong, Super Fight League in India, and MMA-1 formerly known as M-1 Global which is a company based in Amsterdam. As you can see, unless major strides are met, Zuffa won’t exactly be looking in the rearview mirror and seeing anybody close for quite some time.
With all of this being said, it’s going to do more harm than good to MMA in the future for the UFC to become this monopoly. Less fighters will be willing to go out on their shield, more fighters will be suffering from pay that makes boxers look like kings, and most fans’ interest of the fastest rising sport in the world will begin to fade.
As a fan of this sport I just hope that the UFC proves me wrong.