What has the UFC become?
An organization that emerged as the world's premiere mixed martial arts promotion because of its fantastic matchups, incredible athletes and world-class leadership, the UFC is slowly seeing its impenetrable exoskeleton punctured and crumbling.
Today, MMA fans received news that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would coach opposite trash-talking extraordinaire Chael Sonnen on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. At the show's conclusion, the two will fight—par for the course where the show is concerned.
Previous years of the show featured coaching battles such as Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock, Jens Pulver vs. BJ Penn and Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra. The storylines were great and the matchmaking made sense at that particular stage in each fighters' career.
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen, ladies and gentlemen, does not make sense.
I know what you're thinking: "Sure it does, it's going to boost ratings and make the UFC a ton of money!"
Well, you're right—and that line of thinking is so wrong, it makes me sick to even consider the UFC stooping to this level.
You want to make your flagship television show interesting again? How about you scout better talent? How about you do another "comeback" season, as many fans have asked for?
The innovative, cutting-edge promotion that is the UFC is slowly turning into the WWE, and that scares me.
When Chael Sonnen got his first fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, he deserved it. He worked his way up the middleweight ladder, defeated some legitimate contenders and earned his shot against the best fighter in the world. After nearly defeating Silva in that fight, he cemented our feelings that he deserved the fight.
Then, after working his way back to a fight with Silva (again, this was done legitimately), he lost again, this time more convincingly.
In what parallel universe (to quote Uncle Chael) can a man lose twice to his division's champion, move up to a weight class he has only briefly competed in and be awarded an immediate title shot?
For perspective, when Anderson Silva, the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time, moved up to light heavyweight three times in his career, he was matched with James Irvin, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
Chael Sonnen, the man that Silva squashed twice, is awarded Jon Jones.
Let's give Miguel Torres Dominick Cruz. Let's give Josh Koscheck Georges St-Pierre again.
This is WWE-level pure marketing, money-making promotion. I hate it, and you should too.
There is no integrity in this decision, there is no logic and there is no reason outside the almighty dollar. With the cancellation of UFC 151, fighters dropping out of fights with injuries more and more frequently and the plummeting ratings of The Ultimate Fighter, it is clear the UFC is already in a tough spot at this stage of its business life.
Why would you stoop further into the abyss by hosting a farce of a matchup like Jones vs. Sonnen?
This is an absolute abomination of the promotion we have all grown to love, and I have a hard time supporting a company that thinks its viewers are ignorant enough to accept such a matchup.
A legitimate heavyweight contender in Daniel Cormier offered himself for the coaching spot opposite Jones, but his request fell on deaf ears. Cormier planted the seed of legitimacy, and the UFC stomped all over it.
Look, Chael Sonnen is a masterful entertainer, and he will sell the hell out of this fight and this season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. We know this.
What we should also realize, however, is that it is all wrong. He does not deserve this fight, and the slippery slope to irrelevancy is dampened by the matchup.
Chael Sonnen simply does not deserve to stand across the Octagon from Jon Jones.
Not even one little bit.
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