The UFC has problem recruiting new fans and filling up cards? Here`s my solution, based around three things, build a stadium, have fighters on steady income, arrange weekly events:
1) Have a couple of fighters on salaries, instead of pay-per-fight-income. It need not be a very high salary, just enough of base pay to make sure that they can have a place to live, something to eat and get to train properly. They would then get extra for each fight, but even if they didn`t fight for a year, they`d still get some basic dough.
A quick calculation of the cost: Say you put 100 fighters on a base-pay of 3000 dollars a month. That`s 3000x100x12= 3 600 000 dollars. Since I don`t know how taxes and employer`s fees and stuff work in the States, I`ll just go ahead and double the cost: 3 600 000 x 2 =7 200 000 dollars/year. While that might seem like a lot of money, it`s really nothing compared to the cost of cancelling one (1) card.
2) Have weekly low-level events each Friday. Make Friday "Prospect night". Have your salary-fighters fight as often as they can, which would be in their own best interest. The more they fight, the more experience they get and the better fame they earn. Make sure that you can only be a "salary-fighter" for, say something like 2 years? If they haven`t made an impression by then, they probably never will.
3) Low-pay salary fighters would likely feel enough secure in their positions to allow them to go "balls-to-the-wall", which in many cases would lead to exciting and fan-friendly fights.
4) Build a UFC-stadium. It doesn`t need to be very big. Build it round, with steeeep sides, a "moat" with standing spectators and maybe a balcony or two. I`d imagine that production-cost for a televised event would be way down if you could just have everything in place all the time.
5) Have Tina Turner present all the fights.
6) The arena could also house the UFC Hall of Fame, a UFC-gym open to the public where UFC-fighters are incouraged to train, a UFC restaurant, A UFC shop etc etc
7) The venue could also be used for other endavours, such as stand-up, singer-songwriters, fashion-shows, Tigers, and so on.
All in all. Make UFC a casual event, for casual fans. An event that family men can watch when the wifey is asleep. Make people think: "What to do? Oh, wait… It`s Friday. I`ll just watch some UFC."
And finally. By having a scheduled event each Friday, you`ll have plenty of active fighters ready to step in if a numbered-event-spot opens up.
What do ya`ll think?