UFC 146's all-heavyweight main card does not affect the UFC's ability to manufacture cards, but offers a lot of press at no cost.
When the UFC 146 card was first completely fleshed out, there was a lot of discussion about the fact that, for the first time ever, there is an all-heavyweight main card.
Granted, a lot of that has been drowned out with talk of Alistair Overeem's failed drug test, but it is worth bringing back up.
Many feel like the UFC is taking a big gamble by putting together a card made up entirely of heavyweights. This is due to the fact that heavyweight fights are always the most appealing for casual fans, even though the lightweight division, for example, offers more top pound-for-pound fighters. Therefore, putting all their biggest eggs into one basket seems risky at face value.
“Seems” being the operative word there.
The thing is, though, that UFC 146's setup is not really that big a departure from the ordinary. At its core, UFC 146 should just be looked at as a stacked card. The fact that there is over 2000 pounds of meat to watch on the PPV broadcast is just a bonus.
There are two general formats the UFC uses when it comes to building a PPV card.
Generally, they will look at the main event and, if it is strong enough, they will flesh out the card with bouts between less-popular fighters. UFC 145 is a great example of this. Jon Jones is one of the biggest draws in MMA right now and, obviously, the world is abuzz over him finally fighting Rashad Evans.
Past that, they filled the card with younger prospects (Rory MacDonald, Che Mills) and proven, but not especially popular, fighters (Mark Hominick, Miguel Torres). They do this because they know the main event sells itself, and they can afford to put generally unknown fighters behind it without having their bottom line altered in any big way.
The other kind is usually a solid main event, followed by a title eliminator and rounded out with some aging superstars and good fighters looking to rebound. UFC 140 and UFC 139 being the best examples of this.
The UFC 146 card basically falls into the latter. Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem is (or would have been) a pretty great headline that could, hypothetically, be a great money-grabber simply based on the fact that it is a heavyweight championship bout.
Beyond that, the individual bouts fit into the standard bills for a UFC card. Velasquez vs. Mir, obviously, is the title eliminator and Nelson vs. “Bigfoot” Silva is an interesting matchup between two fighters looking to get back on the winning track after ugly losses.
Following that are bouts with young prospects (Shane Del Rosario, Stefan Struve) facing wily veterans (Gabriel Gonzaga and Mark Hunt, respectively).
While UFC 146 is generating a lot of hype for its plethora of big men, this was simply a move to generate an extra bit of hype and it really has paid off. The UFC did not really sacrifice anything by putting together this many heavyweights, and the payoff is evidenced by the simple presence of this article.
UFC 146 is on May 26. Make sure to keep checking back for more news as the card approaches!