"You were supposed to be this colossus. You were this great, legendary thing…" -Vizzini, The Princess Bride
My first column at Heavy.com is up, wherein I look at the pros and cons of Brock Lesnar being sidelined with the flu.
A cynic would argue that, had Lesnar not been so stubborn for so long and gotten himself some Tamiflu early on, we could all still look forward to watching him defend his title on November 21. That’s a reasonable position to take, but there is a silver lining to this cloud. It will, however, require some patience.
Fortunately, the re-match of Tito Ortiz v. Forrest Griffin features two high-profile fighters who have both come a long way since their first fight, in which Ortiz earned a split-decision victory.
Griffin, no longer the wide-eyed newcomer fresh out of the original "Ultimate Fighter" house, is a recent Light Heavyweight champion. Ortiz, on the other hand, is coming off of back surgery and returns to the UFC after an 18-month hiatus. Now the main event, the buy rate for Ortiz v. Griffin II will tell us whether or not Griffin’s recent meltdown following his loss to Anderson Silva will affect his popularity (probably not) and to what degree Tito Ortiz is still viable, both as a contender at Light Heavyweight and as a draw. 500,000 buys is a conservative estimate for the event.
Coincidentally, when Tito Ortiz fought Forrest Griffin for the first time on UFC 59 in 2006, the match was billed as the "return of the Huntington Beach Bad Boy." Did you know that when they first fought, the event did a then-record 425k buys? By comparison, Dave Meltzer's latest trending numbers suggest Machida v. Shogun drew about that many buys. You can rest assured that Ortiz v. Griffin II will do better business the second time around.
Not only is the UFC is left with two shows that should generate a sum total of at least 1.5 million buys, but they are also left with a lot of options.
The UFC will have Silva v. Belfort, Machida v. Shogun 2, and ultimately St. Pierre v. Swick/Hardy at the ready. I know a lot of folks lately have been lamenting the lack of strong main events on UFC shows, but it sure looks like that won't be an issue, at least for the first few months, in 2010.
While it’s unfortunate that the UFC will end its year with more of a whimper than their previously scheduled bang, it’s difficult to shed a tear when thinking about the not-so-distant future. It’s ironic that this pandemic, this viral outbreak that’s causing so many people to lose their minds, is responsible for what may wind up as the most successful start to a year enjoyed by the UFC. To think that because Lesnar’s next title defense will be so early in the year he is all but ensured to fight at least three times in 2010, you can’t help but be optimistic.
It’s more than adapting to circumstance; it’s the taming of the flu.
For the rest of my analysis on the domino effect caused by Brock Lesnar's flu, check out the full article on Heavy.com.
(art via Heavy.com)