UFC president Dana White
Everyone knows the UFC's modus operandi by now when it comes to the fights they showcase. The strategic idea behind their cards involves showcasing the best fights possible, either on pay-per-view or on free TV.
When the UFC began its deal with Fox last year, the quantity of events increased, but when the injury bug, the cancellation of UFC 151, and the all-time lowest PPV buyrate of any UFC event in the Zuffa era hit the promotion, the occasional question arose about whether or not more harm than good came from what some perceived as too many UFC events.
Compared to the number of MMA events that fly under the radar without so much as a mundane mention in casual conversation, the UFC's upcoming schedule actually doesn't present that many cards, though it does promise a lot of cards in itself. Besides, while they certainly did not avoid the injury bug this year, they did deliver some notable hits, both on free TV and pay-per-view, save for some clear misses.
Still, those expecting the UFC to feature more cards in 2013 aside from their upcoming schedule should pump the brakes. UFC president Dana White spoke to members of the media today and, as reported by MMAJunkie.com, declared that the promotion will not feature a night of UFC action on Nov. 2. That's the night that Bellator 106 emanates live from Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif. on pay-per-view with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz and Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler vs. former champion Eddie Alvarez.
Some would find shock in White's decision to not try and use the next two months to put together something that could compete with Bellator 106, but it shouldn't shock anyone. Aside from not opting to feed the argument that the UFC over-saturates their product by putting on too many events, two months does not allow for the time the UFC needs to put on a card that can compete with Bellator's PPV debut.
Right now, UFC 164 features the WEC 53 rematch of Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis, this time with Henderson's UFC lightweight title at stake. Afterwards, UFC 165 features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson and UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland.
In addition, UFC 166 features Cain Velasquez-Junior Dos Santos 3, UFC 167 gets Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, while UFC 168 gets the doubleheader of UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate.
Competing with Bellator 106 with two months to go essentially means playing out a rather unrealistic situation in which two or more of those six upcoming title fights move from their respective cards to another UFC event that may or may not wind up on pay-per-view. Still, the promotion needs to stack the card up rather well, even with title fights on the card, and, with a number of guys out of action or slated to remain on the sidelines for the rest of the year, only a select few names could possibly fill out the kind of card that people would choose over Bellator 106.
This does not imply that more people will express interest in Jackson-Ortiz than anything the UFC features, but, again, the lack of time makes it to where the UFC will need to reschedule a number of their biggest fights for Nov. 2, and with the way the UFC's remaining schedule looks once UFC 164 hits the archives, the UFC wants the best fights to happen and will not settle for anything less.
Of course, things can change, meaning that White could rethink his position and find a way to load up an alluring event without touching his post-UFC 164 schedule, but for now, cut the boss man some slack. He doesn't know any more about how the Viacom-owned promotion's PPV debut will do than anyone else. Even Bellator MMA doesn't have a clue as to how thing will go, but they hold high expectations and hopes.
Remember, though, they planned this months in advance. They will enjoy some time to load their card up and sell it to fans in the next two months. If White changes his mind, he will not enjoy the same. Therefore, applaud White for a smart decision that involves staying true to the UFC M.O. of featuring the best fights possible.
After all, the UFC could easily attract attention with a Nov. 2 outing simply because their brand slaps its name on the advertised card, but if the event does not legitimately promise the best fights in the world, or anything that could remotely outclass the level of action Bellator MMA wants to promote on pay-per-view, what good does it do the UFC in the long run?