Five Ways the UFC Could Utilize a Tournament Format
When Bellator hit the scene back in April 2009, they brought back something that the fans haven't seen but a few times from the UFC in over a decade—the tournament format.
Even with preemption problems, ratings for Bellator have been strong.
Most recently, Strikeforce Challengers 10 played host to a one-night, four-woman tournament to determine who would get the next shot at the 135-pound champion.
The ratings for that show were up 17 percent from Challengers 9.
UFC could headline a pay-per-view with Bozo the Clown vs. Rukka Rukka Ali and still get 250K buys, so thinking of ways how they could actually benefit from the tournament format is very challenging.
However, after countless hours of thought, a few ideas have come to mind.
Creating New Superstars
Let's face it, a fighter like Jon Jones is a rarity in the sport. To have someone come on the scene and become a success and a draw so quickly is something that doesn't happen very often.
Most of the up-and-coming fighters have to start on the undercards of Ultimate Fight Night cards and work their way up.
What if the UFC were to host, for instance, a four-man tournament either on one night or spread across two UFC events for a shot to be on the main card of an upcoming pay-per-view?
The fans would more than likely get behind that fighter and look forward to their appearance on the pay-per-view just for the fact that they saw the fighter earn it and not have it handed to them.
Create a Buzz For a Less Than Exciting Card
It hasn't happened for a while, but there have been times where every fan of the sport has looked at the fights on an upcoming event and said "There are no fights here that excite me."
This could happen for a number of reasons. Are there no compelling match-ups? Or maybe no big-name drawing power?
If used in moderation, using a tournament could draw eyes to an event that some might have otherwise overlooked.
Mid-card fighters in a tournament format would without a doubt make the card more interesting to the average fan.
Create Real No. 1 Contenders
Yes, the picture of Cote vs. Silva is used in jest.
The idea of the UFC making their rankings public has been flying around for years. The general consensus is the fans want to know not only who the No. 1 contender is, but why they are the No. 1 contender.
The talking heads just tell us who the No. 1 contender is and most people buy in to it. Thankfully, there are fans out there that can see through the smoke-and-mirrors and see when a title match-up stinks of bull you-know-what.
If the UFC were to use a tournament to set up title shots, there would be little left to argue about when so-and-so gets their shot.
Sure, there will be people out there that will say (insert their favorite fighter here) got screwed, but you can't make everyone happy.
Recreate The Good Old PRIDE FC Days
Don't we all wish the picture was true?
In retrospect, what there anything in the sport that could get you more pumped up than a PRIDE Grand Prix?
You had the freak show and "gimme" fights at the beginning of each tournament, but when it got to "Critical Countdown" and "Final Conflict" it was on!
When the UFC acquired PRIDE FC a few years back, they could have easily continued this trend that would sell out 35,000-40,000 seat venues in Japan, with the same talent, and with more than likely the same gates.
But, sadly, this wasn't the case. Dan Henderson quickly lost the two PRIDE championships he held to Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva, and PRIDE hasn't been brought up since.
Go Buy Some PRIDE DVD's
Some Pride FC DVD's? How about 69 of them. This writer has.
In all reality, we won't be seeing a full-blown tournament in the UFC anytime soon, if we ever get to see one. Odds are we'll never get to relive the Grand Prix days.
Why? Because the UFC doesn't have to.
As long as people keep watching events on Spike TV, spending nearly $1,000 a year on pay-per-views, and spend tens of millions in live gates, the UFC has no reason to change anything up.
If it ain't broke, there's no need to fix it, right?
But if you need to get your fix, Pride DVD's can be picked up on the cheap all over the Internet.
For around $800, you can relive all that was good about Pride, from Kazunari Murakami vs. John Dixson all the way to Jeff Monson vs. Kazuyuki Fujita, on your big screen from the comfort of your couch.
Now go donate some plasma and start your collection!
Wait, Zuffa owns PRIDE. You'd be giving them even more money, but it's money well spent.
Play on, Playa.
You can follow me, my rants, made up words, and sometimes uncomprehendable psycho babble on Twitter @JasonSchielke and you can listen to it every Wednesday night at 7PM CST on Sprawl N Brawl MMA Radio