This is inspired by a previous fan post by Zack Gobie and a front page article by Michael Rome. I actually responded to Zack Gobie’s fan post with a point somewhat similar to this but as it was somewhat off topic, the same could be said for posting a comment on the Rome article, I decided to create a new fan post.
I would be interested in knowing all your views on the potential effects of these super fights (BJ-GSP, Mir-Lesnar, ect) on the MMA landscape long term? Obviously in the short term it means cash and publicity, both, by themselves, positives.
These massive fights may turn into a negative in the long run for the UFC and the sport. I feel there is a chance that fighters might out grow the brand and even the sport, like boxing at the moment (for example ODLH in the US, Hatton and Calzaghe in the UK etc).This could have a few long-term negative implications:
Mid tier fighters may find it hard to gain traction with fans as publicity will be overshadowed by larger fights
Fighters become too big for the UFC and demand greater freedom and start upsetting the applecart (wanting protection from certain fighters, more freedom with where they fight, fighting for the biggest money as opposed to the best competition and bigger pay checks which could prohibit a card having mid tear fighters for financial reasons)
Popularity in MMA overtakes the popularity of the UFC (only a negative for the UFC in my view).
Constant weight division jumping to create super fights between champions
Fights between popular fighters being marketed as important but having no relevance to a title or rankings overall.
Is the UFC growing the sport and fighters too quickly? Could they lose control of major fighters to upstarts the likes of WAMMA and Affliction that are willing to massage egos and overpay fighters? To give a hypothetical example, what if GSP could sell a PPV by himself? We would start seeing GSP vs a top 20 fighter for a "world championship" with no fights of note on the undercard as successful PPV. If this happens the UFC will have major competition in the future and may have to switch gears as a promoter to keep up. This will move the sport to a model similar to that of boxing, something I believe to be bad all round.
Is this just in the nature of capitalism or am I being too negative in my analysis? Will we all start sounding like elderly boxing enthusiasts in ten years time remembering the good old days? I personally don’t know what will happen. However, I think there could be negative implications to the sport growing to such a huge level. I’m playing devils advocate here, I have not heard this take on the popularity of the sport discussed before and I think it is a discussion worth having.