Jonathan: While much has been said about oversaturation and a lot of it is devastatingly on point, there is something undeniably positive about the UFC's expanded schedule. There will be more great fights in the second half of this year alone than in almost any other year in MMA history.
Yes, the sheer number of shows means the UFC swings and misses more than ever before, too. Spillage is impossible to avoid when you drop gallons of testosterone-flavored greatness on the world. But the insane schedule means more opportunities for fighters to excel as well. For every Brendan Schaub vs. Andrei Arlovski, you get a John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic.
That's a trade I'll make any day of the week.
And, while the glut of shows may make the sport increasingly hard for the average fan to follow, that's not really my problem. Fans who don't want to devote their lives to lightly regulated fisticuffs will have to pick and choose which shows are worth their time. It's our job in the media to help them choose wisely. If you missed the show this week on Fox Sports 1, for example, you chose...poorly.
I was born a hardcore, and I'll die a hardcore. I'm watching regardless, even if my Twitter account makes it seem like the worst of Dante's nine circles. It's a golden age for fight nerds. I'm just happy to be living in it. You should be too.
Chad: I love the enthusiasm, and part of what Jon is saying makes a whole lot of sense. One need look no further than July’s stellar headlining fights to be struck dumb by the unbridled fury the UFC is capable of unleashing when it feels like it.
Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida? Awesomeness. Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller? That was hot fire. Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown? Probably gonna rip the tops of our heads clean off.
Then again, you also don’t have to peep much further into the future than the UFC’s tepid August lineup to realize there will also continue to be some terrible doldrums.
Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux? Huh. Benson Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos? Cool, but probably not main event-worthy. Michael Bisping vs. Cung Le? Wait, say what now? T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao II? Now they’re just messing with us.
So, will the second half of 2014 be bonkers? Some of it, maybe. The other parts will just keep feeling confusing and subpar—like they probably belong on a Friday night AXS television broadcast.