Sep 18, 2012

The Sad State of the UFC today

Although I have been openly saying Dana White has done a good job over the years, my opinion is beginning to change. Before you call me a flip-flopper, let me explain:

A poster or logo for UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell II.The entire UFC has changed in the last year. There are way too many events. The true beginning of the UFC was in April '05: the first fight after the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. It was dubbed UFC 52: Couture VS. Liddell 2. This was a simple marketing approach. Those who knew the sport, understood the quality of these fighters and what was at stake. Those who didn't, watched these guys coach their athletes and talk shit to each other for at least 5 episodes. No one remembers who won the first fight - but they knew the two had a history. And the drama was built. It was a great fight, yadda yadda yadda, and the sport built momentum to become what it was...until last year.

Taking into consideration that the number of fights have increased, the UFC has been in decline  (2012: 11,100 attendance approx - 20 events to date, 31 scheduled, not including one events cancellation; 2011: 12,900 attendance approx - 27 events). This includes going to new, large markets this year such as Calgary, Sweden and Japan.

To date, the UFC has now had 214 events. As mentioned above, in 2005 - they were at UFC 52. In 2012 alone, there has already been 20 events. Since it's not even the 10th month, that's more than 2 a month (or one every two weeks!)
Thanks to Wikipedia, I drew up a quick graph of these:
Events are happening more frequently, which means the UFC has to scramble to create fight cards that will draw fans. Now that the uniqueness of the sport has worn off, the UFC needs to build hype by setting up exciting fights with worthy contenders. Unfortunately, the UFC has been headlining average fighters who will face off against each other multiple times in the same year (Ex: Henderson Vs. Edgar I & II).
A poster or logo for UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort.

Without a strong headliner, fights are hard to promote. What the UFC has switched (and why I have been disappointed) is that they have been having good fighters (Anderson Silva & Jon Bones Jones) headline against fighters who are certainly not worthy (Ex: Silva Vs. Franklin II; Jones Vs. Belfort; Silva Vs. Bonnar - Yep, the Stephan Bonnar from TUF 1, 2005).
A poster or logo for UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar.Yes, injuries play a large role in choosing the fights. But this wouldn't be a big deal for fighters if they didn't fight 3 or 4 times a year (Henderson). Injuries can ruin a card.
My suggestion to the PR team and Dana, take a break for a while. The UFC is not what it used to be. It's time to build up the hype again. There is some exciting fighters at the top of their game but they're not getting the fights they should. Rather than scheduling a fight in stone, set up fights that are worth watching and not entirely one sided. Get your fans excited and stop pumping out empty, nameless events.

UFC 1000: The same two guys. Coming early 2013.

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