Late last year my Aunt got the idea in her head that she could be a club promoter. She planned an event a few days for Christmas and from all the "research" she had done it was a can't miss way to make tons of money. She rented a very nice place(had a covered garage and everything), hired a DJ, bought $1500 in alcohol, and hired a cop for security. She also advertised it heavily for weeks and when the big night came no one showed up. She was expecting 200-300 people and ten percent of that came. The same thing happened with Zuffa tonight during their second foray on network television. Everything they could control they did a great job of, but the fighters didn't show up.
The UFC had everything going for them tonight. It was the Saturday night a week before the Superbowl so there are no big sporting events on. They also had relevant fights which were going to set up two of the biggest PPVs of the year. However instead of building immense amount of hype for those fights we ended up with two of the three worst fights on the entire card being on the main card. Outside of someone dying on live TV this was worst case scenario for them. This was Zuffa's StrikeForce: Nashville and at least that had a brawl to make it entertaining at the end.
- Production - I liked the production a lot. I was worried about them having 2 hours for 3 fights, but they did an excellent job breaking down the fights. They opened with analyzing the fights and right before them they further broke down the fights and introduced the fighters to fans. To us hardcore fans it seems a bit excessive, but to most people(even "UFC" fans) the fighters tend to blend together.
- Big Fights Weren't Ruined - At least Chael and Rashad didn't end up losing so their big fights are still on.
- Cub Swanson - He made top plays for that fantastic KO of George Roop(he also screwed up my parlay)
- No One Died - Kinda scraping the barrel here, but at least no one died. I'm also sure Dana White is happy that none of the fights ended up like Shogun vs. Henderson
- K-1 Maia - What the hell happened with Demian Maia tonight? It's like he completely forgot he is a high level BJJ guy AND he somehow gassed BEFORE the guy who took the fight on 11 days notice. On top of that it looked like he learned how to throw a jab by boxing with a shake weight.
- Matchmaking - This card was stupid on paper and it lived up to it. I don't know what the hell Joe Silva was thinking by putting these seven(counting Munoz still) on this card. I can understand them putting Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans on there and they backed into a good fight between Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen, but the third fight should have been more "guaranteed" action even if it was a squash match. This isn't like the first UFC on Fox where they had to put that together at the last second. So this main card(the undercard was great) being put together so badly is a real shame.
- Second or First Impressions - People who decided to give this a second shot after the event last year will probably not go out of their way to watch another UFC event for a long while. Causal fans and hardcore fans know that sometimes boring fights happen so we'll be back. However for the "mainstream" fans this was a HUGE blow on first impressions and those matter. If you start behind the 8-ball you'll struggle for years to get back in front of it. UFC on Fox 3 has seemed to rectify that, but it may be too late for millions of potential new fans.
- Hype - It was clear that this event was designed to hype up the #1 contenders for their title fights later in the year. This did the opposite in both cases. I'm not knocking Michael Bisping's performance(hell I had him winning the fight) but I now don't think there is a reasonable chance of Chael Sonnen beating Anderson Silva in a rematch. Rashad Evans fared better against Phil Davis, but he only proved he was an elite Light Heavyweight. He removed any belief that he was a credible threat to Jon Jones.
- ESPN - Outside of Cub making Top Plays they didn't show any highlights of the event on SportsCenter. I don't really blame them either.
As an MMA fan tonight was so disappointing. I feel like my favorite team just lost a game because I know what people on the fence with MMA are thinking. Things such as, "this is just dudes hugging" and crap like that. I even talked a friend into checking it out on facebook and I haven't even asked her what she thought of it tonight because there is no way she found it entertaining. During the event I was also checking my DirecTV "Active" channel to see how the viewership was doing. On that "channel" it will show what the highest rated programming on DirecTV is at that moment. Before the start of the first fight it was the second highest rated program nationally. After that fight it was behind the Winter X Games so I am assuming the ratings will be terrible. I'm guessing around 4 million viewers with 6 million being tops. So there is likely more disappointment in the future.