Has Dana White finally reached his breaking point where attention to detail starts to slip through the cracks and cost UFC? We all know that Dana White is one of the busiest men out there, by his own count he has flown more miles this year than the average NBA team does in a season, and that was just in early April. Even his harshest critics will acknowledge that the man is not lazy. But in the first half of 2012, UFC has seen two PPVs messed up by things that a little more forward planning could have taken care of.
UFC 145 - Montreal - 24 March - The event was announced, and the card was being filled with Canadian fighters (Bocek, MacDonald, Hominick, Makdessi), the only problem was that none of UFC's big draws were available for the Main Event. I fully believe that UFC had Jon Jones/Rashad Evans in mind, but they caused a problem when they put Evans on the 28 January FOX show against Phil Davis. They also tied up another potential Headliner for the card when they booked Urijah Faber, and Dominick Cruz to coach the Ultimate fighter. I really cannot blame them for booking Faber and Cruz on TUF, Cruz has been having a hard time catching on with the general public, and TUF is a good tool to help him become a draw. In the end, UFC was forced to cancel the event in Montreal which lead to all the fights being pushed back to the new UFC 145 in Atlanta a month later. Fans were treated to a very long gap between UFC shows, going from 2 March - UFC on FX2, to 14 April - UFC on Fuel 2 (I've enjoyed TUF this season, but it isn't even close to a full up UFC show).
That brings us to UFC 147, an event that Dana said would be one of "the biggest sporting events in the World thing year." An outdoor Stadium in Sau Paulo was targeted, and a crowd of at least 60K, with a huge PPV audience to witness the whole thing. Of course that was based around the Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen re-match that everyone has wanted to see for close to 2 years now. But once again, a small detail got in the way. Sau Paulo has a late night noise ordinance that would come into play because the show would start so late in order to accommodate the American PPV audience (Brazil is 1 hour ahead of EST). After some attempts to get a waiver to the noise ordinance, UFC decided to move the event Rio. I just happened to be in Brazil in early March on business, and everyone we met talked about 4 big things that the country was getting ready for, The Pope's visit in 2013, The World Cup in 2014, the Olympics in 2016, and the Rio+20 conference in June. These were big marks on the wall for the country, so how a company that was supposed to be coordinating these things missed it as a potential conflict is beyond me. This put UFC's back up against a wall, the event will still go on, in another city in a smaller arena, but the big attraction has been moved to Las Vegas, several weeks later. UFC is now in a bad position less than two months out from this event. He is currently sitting on a PPV that will be lucky to draw 200K buys, and I wouldn't be surprised if the number is closer to 100K, which would be the lowest numbers UFC has seen in a long time.
Here is the PPV as it stands right now with less than 2 months to go -
Brazil TUF finals (MW, FW)
I assume the undercard would be filled out with the remaining fighters from TUF.
Jose Aldo turned down a chance to headline this card because he needs more time to get ready, and will fight in July instead. UFC's other Brazilian champion JDS will fight on May 26th, so he is not available. Dana White, and UFC still have some time to pull a rabbit out of the hat... maybe add Lil' Nog v Gustafsson, and Machida v Bader to at least get the hard core fans... or they could even make the Interim WW Champ defend his belt (Kampmann, Ellenberger, MacDonald, Hendricks/Kos winner), but right now UFC 147 is set up to be the worst PPV in a long time, and it could be a sign that Dana White needs a little help.