Saturday night was a disaster on so many different levels. It has been covered ad nauseam here and elsewhere so I won't spend any more time on how and why it was so bad. What I do want to investigate is perhaps UFC is biting off more than they can chew when it comes to the volume of PPV's they are doing each year.
I believe that an organization can not throw away their PPV's with lackluster cards. It will only turn off the casual fans, who are critical to the growth of the sport and disappoint the base. The card this Saturday night was not a PPV worthy card. UFC did a great job selling it. A month ago I was looking at this card thinking "Who wants to see that?" but as we got close I became more excited about the card. All the promos were done so well that I thought it might be a good night of fights. Then reality hit. The best part of the night were the fights that were broadcast for free. Solid bouts, no bad judging, active fighters, decisive wins. Make any fan happy. We know all about the rest. There was no KO of the Night bonus because the real KO was to us, the fans.
It's my opinion that PPV's should be built around the company's biggest stars. For UFC, those stars today are Brock, GSP, Anderson (not all the time), BJ Penn, Shogun. There are soon to be stars like Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, and JDS. Then there is a second tier that includes fighters like Carwin, Rampage, Rashad, Edgar, and what was Chael. Naturally, there is the Natural along with some of the Pride heroes like Nog. The only time UFC should ask us fans to shell out our money is if either they are going to deliver one of the top stars in a meaningful, compelling fight or an event that has two main events featuring four of the second tier stars with high stakes. That's not what they are doing and I believe it will only hurt them in the long run.
Now that UFC has a long, established partnership with Spike I believe they should use that avenue much more than they currently are. The Ultimate Fighter is a good show and follows the reality TV formula that lets the casual fan in. It gives us a chance to see up and coming fighters but it is waning. It only covers one weight class at a time and there are many prospects in different weight classes. I would love to see more of the young, up and coming fighters the organization has signed. I want to watch them fight more often than we get to now. I want to get to know them. The way they have built Jon Jones is wonderful and the organization will receive dividends for that kind of care. They highlighted him on free TV and now he is developing into a PPV attraction that should be a star for a long time. I believe they need to do this more. They are not doing enough to develop their own stars. Fill a card with prospects and then throw in a co-main event like Cro Cop v Mir. Notice I said like, as in similar, I never want to see Cro Cop vs Mir again.
If they dropped one, maybe two PPV's a year so that each card was stacked with the upper echelon of stars and expanded their free TV base to give their next generation a chance to shine it might result in short term revenue loss but I think it would pay off in much bigger gains down the road. There is a backlash after this Saturday's PPV, I hope the UFC heads have taken notice and will only ask us for our money when they deserve it. They certainly didn't this weekend.
Note: This piece was written before Kid Nate's and Jonathan Snowden's dealing with similar subject matter. They both made the arguments better than I did though.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.