When UFC hung its hat on the biggest TV deal the sport has ever seen, signing with Fox, 2011 couldn’t have ended any better and 2012 couldn’t have looked any brighter. However, the year was full of negative turbulence and proved to be strenuous for loyal fans. What began as an injury plague sent the UFC product into a tailspin, heavily altering or even dismantling cards and has led to business decisions that have lacerated the company’s integrity and have made it difficult to be a UFC loyalist. Fans have plenty to be disgruntled about from the cancellations of events or low quality cards or the growing TRT problem which fighters such as Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Forrest Griffen, Frank Mir and Rampage Jackson have all admitted to using. Rather then focus on one of those issues however, it’s hard not to look at the whole damaged picture, how the landscape of the sport and those involved are changing, as boxing once did, for better or worse.
The Ultimate Fighter has been sinking for sometime now. Jon Jones is the next big thing if not already and Chael Sonnen is a marketing master. To have these two coach the Ultimate Fighter could result in blockbuster ratings for both the show and PPV. It’s a smart business move but a shallow and desperate one as well. To have a 185-pound fighter who has gone 2-2 in his last four fights and is coming off a TKO loss in a title fight, move up a weight class he hasn’t fought in for half a decade and get an immediate title fight is ridiculous. MMA analysts, fighters and fans have all called the choice into question.
“I absolutely think it was a bad decision for the sport. It just—it makes the sport lose a little bit of integrity”-Dan Henderson
However, Dana White keeps pushing that this is the fight everyone wants to see. Yes, people will watch, but is it the best decision in terms of ranking and sport? It certainly isn’t well deserved and speaks volumes that at the end of the day it’s about making money, not the fans, not the fighters, it’s about profit margin. They are a business after all, all the more power to them right? This also isn’t the only case that speaks such volumes. Look no further than Alistair Overeem.
“This guy doesn’t deserve a title shot. People are talking about this guy because he failed a drug test and he likes to talk a lot of trash.”-Junior Dos Santos
Here is a guy who gets pulled from a world title fight due to testing positive for elevated testosterone, which is a form of enhancing your performance physically. Call me crazy but regardless of what any doctor says, if it enhances your performance, its a steroid. He lied to the company he works for, infuriating Dana White for a week or two before he changed his stance like he enjoys to do. So when he returns, he returns at the same position he left, as the number one contender and will meet the winner of Cain v. Junior. Overeem doesn’t have to take on a single fighter to earn back his position. All the while Nick Diaz, suspended for traces of marijuana, (yes it was his second offense) has to fight one or two more guys to simply get “in the mix” (yes he is coming off a loss). It isn't about right and wrong, ranking or sport, it's about drawing power and money. This has always been the case, but it appears with the companies expansion and dominance, the men running the show are less concerned with not only the trust and loyalty to it's fans, but possibly even its fighters.
“There's no system for picking number one contenders. There's no order, there's no lineup, there's no point system. It's just whoever they feel they're going to make the most money off of. That's who gets the title shot. It kind of sucks,”-Jon Fitch
Then you have guys that take heat for not stepping up on short notice, such as Jon Jones against Sonnen, or Machida against Jones, or Mitrione against Cormier. The UFC publicly blast their own talent and give them a bad wrap for not taking fights, yet DW says he will never force anyone to fight. All the while you got guys like DaMarques Johnson and Rich Attonito who do step up, take fights on short notice, but if they have trouble with weight or take a loss, they are cut following such events, when they were just trying to be a quality employee. So why would Machida take a fight against Jones on short notice when he has already lost to Jones and probably won’t get another shot at the title if he losses? Why would Mitrione take a fight against Cormier and risk taking a loss in a dying promotion, put himself on a two fight skid and then would be fighting for his job? Where is the middle ground? The UFC is becoming more a selfish money hungry monster that could self destruct just like boxing.
It took the UFC about ten years to really build 5 divisions, 5 titles, and a roster of fighters just here in the states with some stops in various places like England Ireland and Canada. Now in the past year and a half they have added 3 divisions, 3 titles, almost double the shows and are trying to move into India, Australia, China, Brazil, among other regions. Also, Ufc Pesident Dana White is going against everything he has ever said about WMMA and is now willing to open the door of the octagon for woman. Not because the talent is booming, but because he knows he can make a quick buck off Rondo Rousey vs Cyborg. The Ultimate Fighter sucks and they have 3 to 4 different regional shows now. The sport has lost its respect for its fans and has managed to take the novelty completely away therefore the fans are losing respect for the sport. Integrity Out.