The 125-pound flyweight division is as far down as the UFC should go. The current plans to bring in a 115-pound weight-class need to be aborted ASAP.
This isn't idle naysaying. This is the truth.
Flyweights can't draw a crowd. Nor can they garner the interest of an existing crowd drawn in by other bigger fighters. Their fast but ultimately ineffective style is off-putting to the legions of casual fans, as indicated by the chorus of boos heard throughout the 25-minute fight between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez.
Bleacher Report's own Jonathan Snowden explored this phenomenon in detail.
"Hardcore" fans and media members might love the flyweights, but the casual fan doesn't. Ultimately, the money lies with the casual fans, not the hardcore ones—who use any perceived grievance as a justification for illegally streaming pay-per-views.
Furthermore, the flyweight division is the most shallow weight-class in the UFC. How the UFC is going to make regular flyweight fights and keep the division interesting remains to be seen.
Despite these issues, UFC President Dana White seemed unconcerned at the UFC 152 pre-fight presser, insulting all those who questioned the validity of a flyweight division and the entertainment value of flyweight fights.
If the first title fight in a new division is seen as a cause for fans booing and the promoter being overly defensive, why then should that same promoter create a new weight-class that's 10 pounds lighter and will therefore have the same problems but even worse?
There will be fewer fighters at 115 pounds, and fans will be even more disinterested in watching their fights.
The only possible benefit is that a 115-pound division might aid the UFC's overseas expansion. White himself noted this in an interview with MMAjunkie. "We're going into Asia, Mexico, going into South America—and traditionally, they're all smaller guys," he said.
However, starting a half-baked weight class to appease some new fans at the sake of alienating your core market is a mistake. Flyweights were met with great enthusiasm by the media, but the numbers and the boos show that this wasn't the sentiment amongst the majority of fans.
Thus, the UFC should abandon its plans for 115 pounds lest it winds up with another division which the bulk of fans dread watching.
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