Things have been going pretty good for the UFC over the past few months.
Injuries—at least the epic, card-altering variety—have been less regular.
TUF 17 has been better than expected by most, and has people talking about UFC 159 even though it’s nearly three months away.
The Super Bowl Weekend show served as a reminder that the UFC can still do big as well as anyone, and the first FOX show of 2013 showed that marquee to be dialing in nicely as well.
After a 2012 that was—to put it nicely—forgettable, things have been rolling along pretty well.
But you know what you don’t do when things are going well after a protracted stretch of nightmarish frustration, fan displeasure and a suffering product? You don’t start trying to force new ideas out there, particularly when you still have some more notable half-baked schemes still in development.
And yet that’s exactly what Dana White and the UFC are doing.
How so, you ask? Well, the 115-pound division, otherwise known as the strawweight class, is on its way to the UFC.
Now, ignore for a minute that the recently-introduced flyweight division is still in its infancy and working on making new fans. It’s not quite one of those half-baked ideas noted above, but the amount of preparation involved in launching it puts it close.
Is it a good time for the UFC to introduce 115-pounders?
Ignore that the UFC is in with completely and totally reckless enthusiasm on Ronda Rousey, signing a few women to serve as a “division” for her to headline while they soak up the mainstream media attention that she’ll get them. Fairly half-baked.
Ignore too the aforementioned disaster that was 2012, just to keep a clear head about this.
Even with those things ignored, focusing purely on the implementation of strawweights as a UFC draw, it’s still a bad idea.
Add in those questionable issues you were just ignoring? Well, now it’s just plain idiotic.
The fact is that the promotion is just starting to overcome the perception that they were spread too thin in 2012.
They’re just starting to realize that they need more depth in the division below 155lbs, too.
They’re also just getting into the swing of promoting Rousey’s first fight, so they won’t know what they have there for another few weeks.
But now, of all times, they want to seriously contend that strawweights would be a good move? How? For what reason?
Some argue that many new UFC territories will be rife with smaller fighters looking to make it. Places like Asia, India and Mexico are referenced repeatedly, yet two of those haven’t yet been breached and the other is a combination of countries that have ranged from tepid to impossible on the UFC penetration scale.
Others have said…
Actually, you know what? That’s basically the only reason any of this is being considered. Because when the UFC hits new markets, it wants something for the local talent to strive for. If that means creating a title in a borderline uninhabited weight class that most governing bodies using the Unified Rules of MMA don’t even recognize, then so be it.
This isn’t to rag on the UFC. Honestly, they get it right more often than they don’t. There might even come a time—hell, there definitely will come a time—that strawweights are a viable attraction and a sensible division to promote.
But 2013 isn’t that time. 2013 is the time to rebound from a bad year and get some positive momentum in the new areas that need it. Creating new problems won’t help anybody.