Can someone please explain to me why Hatsu Hioki is fighting Ricardo Lamas on the under-card on UFC on FX 4? Seriously, someone explain this to me.
One thing that I am not is a business major, but I'd like to think I have at least an ounce of common sense. In my opinion, placing Hatsu Hioki on Fuel TV makes absolutely no sense. None.
To put things into perspective, according to the BE rankings Hatsu Hioki and Ricardo Lamas are ranked two and twenty four in the featherweight division respectively. If you exclude the main event there is only one fighter on the card that is ranked (that being Brian Ebersole who is rated as the 20th best welterweight).
Making matters worse, Hioki is a relative unknown to the regular UFC viewing audience, and he may be the next challenger for the UFC Featherweight Championship after the Aldo/Koch fight. How can Hioki be taken as a serious challenger if he is relegated to the prelims on an uneventful mid-tier event?
Right now if Hatsu Hioki was walking down a street, I would venture to say that very few UFC fans would be able to identify him, and after his fight with Ricardo Lamas on FUEL TV, Hioki would still go unrecognized during his morning stroll around town.
The featherweight division is a division with few stars, and the top fighters in the division need to get as much publicity as they can get. Putting the Hioki fight on Fuel TV is an asinine decision.
If you average out the TV ratings of the last two UFC on FX events, the Fuel TV prelims had less than 9% of the viewers that the FX main card had.
I touched on this earlier, but there is no reason that the Lamas/Hioki fight shouldn't be on the main card. To say that the Lamas/Hioki fight is more important to the UFC featherweight division than the main card scheduled Ross Pearson/Cub Swanson fight would be a massive, Teila Tuli-sized understatement.
The only possible explanation I can get for Hioki being hidden on the under-card is UFC responding to Hioki declining to fight Jose Aldo. It's short-sighted and simply stupid to have a personal vendetta against one of your employees much less one of your top fighters.
With all of the bad luck the UFC has had with fighter injuries, the last thing they should do is screw up things that they can control, yet they have done that with the match placement of tonight's UFC on FX event.