LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 20: (L-R) UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and challenger Cain Velasquez at the UFC 121 pre-fight press conference at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 20 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
I woke up Sunday morning with a tremendous sense of relief. I followed up the non-stop coverage of UFC 129 with non-stop coverage of Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley for SBNation.com. Knowing that there was no major MMA this weekend and that I didn't have to cover the weekend's big boxing events meant that I could just relax and write about fight announcements or whatever minor news would trickle out of the UFC fighter summit over the week.
Then the UFC announced their new accident insurance coverage on Monday, they then became the first major sports organization to fully embrace Twitter by providing bonuses to fighters for tweeting and gaining followers, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard both got injured and pulled out of their UFC 130 fight, leaving the card very lacking and Thursday saw the announcement that Brock Lesnar is out of action yet again thanks to diverticulitis. When mixed with the smaller moves of things like changing Strikeforce matchmaking duties, you have a tremendous week of change at Zuffa.
We can joke all we want about how annoying the Twitter accounts of UFC fighters will become/have already become. But the Zuffa message is clear: we want you building up fanbases on Twitter and operating in a very specific way. It's not a bad thing, but there is going to be a shift in the way that fans have access to fighters.
The accident insurance is a no-brainer great thing for the sport. For fighters to be able to know that they have coverage if they get hurt getting ready for a fight is a huge relief. There have been tons of reports over the years of Zuffa paying fighters to not pull out of fights when they suffer injuries, it may become quite a bit harder to convince a fighter to stay in a fight when he is suffering from even a nagging minor injury. Going into a fight at less than 100% becomes a lot less appealing.
As for Lesnar's injury? Well, the rumors are still out there that he will never step back into the cage. And Mike Fagan did a good job of covering exactly what it means to the UFC's pay-per-view growth. The UFC is going to need a huge fall/winter schedule to pull out a new PPV record.
We're seeing the UFC start to major "major sport" moves but they're battling a lack of huge drawing stars and a main event roster that seems to be in yet another "curse" mode.
The sport is shifting, and the last few days reminded us that you can never let your guard down expecting a slow week.