Photo by Dave Mandel via Sherdog
In the aftermath of UFC 108, we've had to suffer from all sorts of I-told-you-so's from Dana White to Kevin Iole to Mike Chiapetta. A card that was universally pooped on rose from the ashes of the infirmary to deliver an entertaining night of bouts, and everyone wants to shove it in the faces of those people who may have tempered their anticipation.
Those kids over at Fightlinker put down their poutine long enough to deliver this rebuttal: (And, guys, could you cut down on the curse words? It's hard to link you with all the dirty, profane language.)
Here’s hoping our doubt might be the very reason the UFC doesn’t try to charge us 50 bucks for lineups like UFC 108. The end result of the fights is moot – the prelims often feature the best fights of an event but that doesn’t mean the UFC would be justified in ladling up a night of those and asking 50 bucks for it. As for the ‘disrespect’, here’s how it goes, and this is pretty complicated so pay close attention: the better the card, the more excited people are to see it. There’s a decent amount of leeway from person to person around what your definition of ‘better’ is but in the end you don’t get to arbitrarily say the card is great when the fans as a whole have decided it’s not.
UFC 108 wasn’t full of bad fights. It was just full of fights no one gave much of a s--- about. Are you really going to piss on the average fan for not getting hysterical about Sam Stout vs Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller vs Duane Ludwig? Seeing Mark Munoz play Ryan Jensen like a conga drum was fun and all, but what does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Is it wrong that fight fans clamor to see fighters they care about facing other fighters they care about in matches that mean something?
I used to run basements shows for punk bands for a long time. I promoted a lot of awesome shows with a lot of bands you probably don't know (and maybe some that you do), but it would be laughable for me to charge more than $5 or a strongly suggested donation to attend.
I'm not suggesting the UFC institute some sort of sliding scale rate for pay-per-views. The point I'm making (or elaborating on) is this: no one thought this was a "bad card" because of the potential of the fights themselves. I told all of my casual friends that the fights would probably end up being pretty good because of the style matchups between the various fighters.
But for the same reason I can't expect more than 100 people to show up to a house show billed with bands that only a small niche even knows about; Zuffa, and Dana White in particular, can't expect fans - casual and hardcore alike - to get psyched for a show headlined by a guy making his main event debut and a guy that may never win over the adoration of MMA's fandom.
I give all the credit in the world to Joe Silva and the matchmaking team. They certainly put together the best card they could given the circumstances. Yet, that doesn't mean we have to put the UFC on the altar and sing their praises because a fight card produced a lot of exciting finishes. If that was the ultimate goal for a fight promoter, Melvin Manhoef, Houston Alexander, and Drew McFedries would be among the highest paid and most sought after guys in the sport.
Fans need a reason to tune in (unless you're Jordan Breen and you'll watch two Zimbabwean wrestlers fight in some underground Brazilian show). The viewer wants to see two guys with personal beef or title shots or 300 pound freaks of nature. Evans-Silva and Daley-Hazelett had minor implications for their respective divisions, but neither had enough pull to warrant their spots on the card (relative to PPV cards of the past couple years). Add in an advertised undercard that is more fitting for a free TV Fight Night, and you have a card that can rightfully be labeled "bad" by a critical observer.