A big question I have been asking myself lately: Is the UFC becoming too overbearing?
Recently, for example, we just had Ultimate Fight Night on Sept. 16, which turned out to be an amazing event, and now coming up this Saturday is UFC 103 on the 19th. Judging by rumors...the UFC is expected to run to event 108 by years end, and you can add in the TUF finale and maybe another UFN in there as well. That runs about seven events in three months time (counting after 103).
You’re probably thinking that I am off my rocker, why would a die-hard MMA fan complain about too much MMA?
Well, for one thing, I have a large preference to quality over quantity. Not to bash the UFC, but it will be three straight cards without a title fight (102, UFN 19 and 103). That is, quite frankly unacceptable.
In a sport where the drive is to be the best individual fighter, on a regular basis I want to see that title make much more frequent appearances in the Octagon.
This isn’t to say that Randy Couture or Rich Franklin aren’t main event draws, they are just less of a draw when they aren’t fighting for or to retain a belt. I understand that there can’t always be a title fought for, injuries and layoffs occur, but this will wrap into my point later on.
While UFC 103 will go head to head with the return of Floyd Mayweather to the boxing ring, UFC President Dana White has been on the media trail bashing boxing, and especially the Mayweather-Marquez fight, at every turn.
He says that no one is interested in fights that are irrelevant and he goes on to say that no one specifically wants to see Floyd fight Marquez. But Dana, do not eat your words here. The UFC just announced that Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera will be the headliner for the UFC 105 event in the U.K.
I realize the huge draw that Couture is...but seriously? A fight with Brandon Vera is not deserving of top billing; it’s a good co-main event fight and that’s about as far as it goes. I am not going to argue too much about this, because we will most likely get this for free on Spike, but there’s no way I can justify throwing $50 at this card.
Backtracking here, I was excited for the UFC 102 event, despite no title fight, and I will most likely buy UFC 103 as well, which bodes for another problem, money. With a near $50 price tag for the PPV, and the world still in an "economic crisis" where is the line drawn for fans as to how much they are going to spend per month on a three to four hour fight card.
You can argue that they show the fights at restaurants and bars, but you’ll end up dropping the same amount of money on drinks and food anyways. To go along with that is Dana White’s announcement that he’s looking to have three events per month in 2010. I don’t know if I should be excited, or if I should pick up a second job.
What I am considering overkill already for UFC events might be even worse next year. I understand the sport, and UFC brand is growing, but without a network TV deal I don’t see how this is going to be overly beneficial without the UFC brass coming off as greedy.
With that being said, White has also hinted at a possible network TV deal, which would make everything all rainbows and sunshine for UFC fans with the fights being on a free, accessible platform for each and every event. It would make this entire post completely irrelevant as well, but that is a topic all on its own, and for fans it's wishful thinking for now.
Another way that the UFC could improve the quality of their fight cards (because, remember, that is what’s important here) would be to absorb the WEC. Now, I understand that may sound counter-productive, but you have to hear the entire plan.
While absorbing the Zuffa-owned promotion, it would take the WEC free fight cards off of the Verses network and TSN, BUT it would create much more exciting and entertaining UFC cards, ones that are worth paying for.
Fighters such as Mike Brown, Miguel Torres, and Brian Bowels (to name a few) are all not as popular as they should be. As well, in the UFC their pay scale will match their draw and talents, much unlike in the underrated WEC promotion.
I don’t feel that the UFC has hit its pinnacle yet, but there is fear from myself, a longtime fan that it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate things and make some tweaks to the business model. Maybe ease up on the fight cards which will start producing some more better quality cards where we see titles fought for and rivalries fought, and some great fights that will go down in history.