Look, I'm frustrated. You're frustrated. We're all ****ing frustrated. And there will be a bit of ranting in this FanPost. I wish I could deal with it with the excellent satire of this FanPost, but that just ain't my style. But if you bear with me, I will make the point that I proposed in the title.
I first got into MMA around May or June of 09. Before then I wouldn't even call myself a casual fan, but I did see a few Chuck Liddell and Rampage fights on UFC Unleashed and liked the sport. UFC 100 was the first PPV I bought- and it was beautiful. What I'm now going to refer to as "The Golden Age of MMA" was happening, and I became a fan right in the midst of it. Every single UFC event seemed to be stacked to the heavens in talent. After almost every event I sat back and simply soaked in how awesome this sport was. There was nothing else like it on the planet. The UFC (and the fans) were enjoying the best success of it's short life, and all was well. The UFC was making oodles of money. If a card didn't break 500,000 buys, it seemed a bit disappointing. UFC 108 did 300,000 and many writers thought that was the absolute floor that the UFC could do. Now, nobody even batted an eye at UFC 147 doing an estimated 150,000-200,000. Things have changed.
When the UFC signed a deal with Fox towards the last quarter of 2011, they announced they'd be putting on 32 events in 2012. 32. There are only 52 weeks in a year. Some people thought the UFC might be oversaturating. Me? I didn't think so. I wanted as much MMA as possible. See, the argument for oversaturation was that people wouldn't want to/be able to watch that much MMA. I thought that was nuts. In reality, saturation is very much real, just not for the reasons I previously thought.
The UFC has a finite amount of talent. The sport of mixed martial arts has a finite amount of talent. And that talent hasn't improved over the past three years to a significant degree. So when the UFC starts increasing the amounts of cards they put on per year, that talent has to stretch to cover those cards. Events get watered down. This is undeniable, unless you're having everyone fight more often.
But you say "injuries are the cause of these terrible cards, the UFC is just getting unlucky". But I won't agree. Dana can deflect at a press conference and give that response, but I know the truth. The UFC is getting unlucky with injuries lately, yes. But in the "Golden Age" they'd be able to recover. Back then, you could put on a decent replacement fight and still have yourself a good card. But now, those replacements are nowhere to be found. Anyone who doesn't have a fight booked has just fought in the passed few weeks. So instead, they started taking fighters from other cards. The main event of UFC 149 was supposed to be happen at UFC 148. As was Tim Boetsch vs Hector Lombard (originally Michael Bisping). When Thiago Silva went down with an injury, Shogun Rua was pulled from the card entirely, likely due to the fact that there are no Light Heavyweights to replace him, and Fox needed fights because Hector Lombard was supposed to be fighting Brian Stann there before Stann got injured. The injury replacements have come full circle and is leaving all cards devastated. Now we have Brandon Vera headlining a UFC event on national television in a few weeks. The old UFC would recover from an injury bug. This one leaves the wreckage behind, puts a bow on it, covers it in Febreeze and offers it to us for $54.99.
A fighter can only fight so often, and we have a limited amount of fighters. They're spreading themselves thin. The UFC's wallet will quickly learn that they can't do this forever. They need to take a step back. I want to go back to the Golden Age. MMA is becoming less fun for me when the fights aren't as good. Matt Riddle was just on a main card for Christ's sake. And he happened to be the lone bright spot! It has to end. The UFC has contractual obligations, so I'll stop bitching for the rest of 2012. But the amount of shows they put on in 2013 is going to show how well they roll with the punches, how well they handle hardship.
For now, I look to Ben Henderson's tree-trunk thighs and Frankie Edgar's inability to get knocked out. Save us from this embarrassment and end this rough skid. Do it for our beloved sport. I need something to grasp on to.