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Global Domination: Is MMA Becoming the Sport of UFC?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13:  Dana White, UFC President, speaks during a press conference to announce commitment to bring UFC to Madison Square Garden and New York State at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images
Declan MoloneyContributor IMarch 13, 2011

To say it has been a big 24 hours in the world of MMA would not do what has transpired justice.

Strikeforce has become the property of the UFC parent company Zuffa in a move that rivals that of the acquisition of once powerhouse Japanese MMA organization, Pride Fighting Championship.

In a move that acquires the video library of Strikeforce, as well as prior contracts within the organization, Zuffa and the UFC have acquired their largest competitor within North America leaving very little market competition globally.

Although already the leader in MMA competition globally, through this acquisition the UFC has taken out anything that resembles competition to their global juggernaut leaving little high-quality talent not under the Zuffa banner.

With the acquisition of the second biggest organization in the MMA world, it poses the question: Is MMA becoming the sport of UFC?

Currently as it stands, it would take careful business planning and talent management for an organization to even survive in a world so saturated with the UFC product. People even prior to the merger were not associating the sport of mixed martial arts with the UFC, but rather recognizing the UFC as its own sport. As if to be said it is the sport of Ultimate Fighting. 

The merger will only compound this notion as any realistic competition are light year away from being at the level of the UFC.

It has been well documented that the Dream organization is in financial trouble. The situation in Japan is so bad that the president of Dream has stated that if the organization follows this course, the organization "will die."

Whilst Bellator have tried to make a dent into the MMA world, they are no match to the power of the UFC.

The UFC has placed a stranglehold on the MMA world, essentially becoming a monopoly. The organization has supersaturated the market to the extent that the UFC overshadows the sport itself. The sport is fast becoming Ultimate Fighting rather than the hybrid collective of different martial arts known as MMA.

To the random person in the general public, the term MMA would usually not register as to what the acronym stands for, however, the term "UFC" usually does. It is a testament to the marketing campaign of Zuffa and their ability to promote globally and expand into the new areas.

Now with the acquisition of Strikeforce, there are few high-level MMA fighters outside of a Zuffa banner. Although Dana White said "business will run as usual" at Strikeforce, it is only a matter of time before it is merged into the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Just take a look at the companies the UFC said will stay running like Pride and WEC.

Furthermore, the acquisition of Strikeforce brings with it an avenue into the premium television services market. Strikeforce still have a two-year contract with the premium television service provider Showtime, something the UFC doesn't have. The potential avenue allows UFC into the "premium television" market where they have in the past failed to do so.

It provides the opportunity for further UFC programing and the furthering of the UFC name rather than the name of the sport.

It seems futile to resist the changes going on in the MMA world today. We are no longer watching the sport of MMA rather the sport of Zuffa's UFC as it continues to clear out anything resembling competition.

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