In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, there are numerous organizations with respectable, top-tier athletes to call their own. Undoubtedly, the UFC is in the lead when it comes to exposure to the casual sports fan.
However, the UFC is intent on keeping it that way. How far will the UFC go to keep MMA fans from tuning in to other organizations?
With the rise in popularity of MMA, fans of the sport want to see their favorite fighters in the cage (or ring) more. Often, there is a gap between events because of the time required to market and produce an event.
Take, for instance, UFC 88, featuring Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans, which is planned for early September. With so much time between events, it's natural for fans to turn to other organizations to get their fix of highlight reel knockouts and slick submissions.
But what does it say when an organization attempts to put together an event in just over a month's time for the same night that another organization makes its debut? Despicable.
The UFC has always taken pride in its high production quality, solid cards, and strong marketing. It doesn't make sense to try and cram all the things that it does well over the course of several weeks into one month.
The only possible explanation is that the UFC is trying to steal viewers to make sure it remains the highest watched MMA organization in the world.
Let's face it, the UFC is facing some serious competition. EliteXC's deal with CBS not only brought MMA to network television, it was also the highest watched MMA bout on free TV history.
Strikeforce has a deal with NBC for late-night airtime. The "Dream" organization in Japan is putting together some reputable shows as well, featuring Aoki, Diaz, Sakurai, Uno, Cro Cop, and Yamamoto.
Now the UFC's latest threat: Affliction. Affliction: Banned is one of the most talent filled cards in MMA history, featuring Fedor vs. Sylvia, Barnett vs. Rizzo, Babalu, Linland, Arlovski, Rothwell, Nogueira, Belfort, Martin, and Pyle.
Now the UFC is trying to throw together a card on Spike TV for free in just over a month to try and compete? Even the UFC's choice for the headliner is intriguing at best.
Moving Anderson Silva up to 205 is an interesting prospect, considering how he's almost "small" to be a 185-pounder. Matching him up against James Irvin doesn't make too much sense either.
Sure, Irvin did destroy LHW up-and-comer Houston Alexander with a Superman Punch that tied the fastest KO in UFC history, but that does not put Irvin in the top 10 and warrant a fight against Silva. Irvin is also big for 205. It just does not make sense.
This is a shameful attempt by the UFC to remain the "top-dog" in the MMA world. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the UFC has pulled this particular stunt.
Last year, the UFC scheduled an event the same evening as a Cage Rage event in the UK. It is actions like these that make people look down upon the business aspect of the UFC.
Will the UFC achieve its goal and overshadow Affliction's debut into the MMA world? Only the numbers will tell on July 20. I think UFC won't succeed.