Promoted to the Front Page by Anton Tabuena
It's time for Dana, Lorenzo and company to admit something that we've all known for awhile now-- the UFC on Fuel is a failed experiment.
Commissioned to promote their fledgling network by their honeymooning network sweethearts at FOX, the UFC took on the monumental task of not only providing thousands of hours of programming for the little-seen cable network, but promoting it so aggressively that you would think Dana himself has a personal stake in its financial successes. Secondary programming like boutique-shows UFC Tonight, The Best of Pride and Ultimate Insider are just the sort of fare worth offering to hardcores and passerbys on cable TV's veritable ham radio-- providing just the incentive someone that frequents a site like Bloody Elbow needs to go all Charlie-Brown's-teacher on Comcast. Because we are the only types that care enough to frenetically pick up our cell phones and spend an excess $10 a month for the pleasure of watching Sakuraba's greatest hits and Aaron Simpson bumping up against Kenny Robertson for 15 solid minutes.
So when it's fully evident that even promotional features like the Countdown shows are squandered on these limited wavelengths, is it not abundantly clear that full-blown UFC fights are not only wasted on the few eyeballs they draw, but that the equity of the brand ultimately suffers for it?
Original Photo: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRESome have argued that the Weidman/Munoz fight should not have been placed on this card (oh, we revisionist MMA fans!), but that is not the nexus of the problem. The dilemma is that Sean Shelby and Joe Silva have enough of a responsibility populating the cards of FX, PPV and proper FOX to bother with fights on this 4th rate, air whistling life raft. There are fractured bodies tumbling off of cards such as UFC 147 (147k buys/LOL?) like Lemmings at the control of a sadistic teenager. Fighters are willingly accepting lower sponsorship dollars and chances at low-cut bonuses. And gates are dwindling with passive fans wondering aloud on Facebook "There were fights last night??".
It's time for Dana to stop taking a personal interest in the success of the Fuel Network, and it's time for FOX to stop caring as well. They're now joined at the hip with the value of the UFC brand, in loving television matrimony, and it would befit all parties involved to cease with this unhealthy practice. With the UFC aiming to be in more countries and households than ever before and ratings already teetering, it's important to drive home the idea that every event is unmissable, that every fight on a main card has high stakes and that every fighter that has scratched-and-clawed their way into the bright lights of the Octagon exhibits their wares before an audience larger than what HDNet can provide.
No more fights on Fuel, Dana. The honeymoon is over.