There's been a fair amount of grumbling about the UFC's decision to book a 3-round, Light Heavyweight bout between Middleweight champ Anderson Silva and the nearly retired journeyman Stephan Bonnar as the new headliner of UFC 153.
Some fans think that top Middleweight contender Chris Weidman should have gotten the call.
Josh Gross explains why Silva vs. Bonnar was a no brainer at ESPN:
UFC risks little except sniping via the Internet, which happens everyday regardless of what's going on in the news cycle. For them, it seems this was a no-brainer.
Actually, the UFC may have in a 24-hour stretch replaced a great fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar with a not-so-great fight between Silva and Bonnar, and in the process found a more marketable, sellable contest.
Sad, but probably true.
Dave Meltzer breaks it down even more after the jump and I've got a video rant addressing the topic.
At MMA Fighting, Dave Meltzer -- the dean of PPV business analysts -- explains why the opinions of hard core fans just don't matter in this situation:
Sure, if you asked me the 100 fights I would most be looking forward to seeing this year, Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar wouldn't be in the top 20.
And I was genuinely looking forward to Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar, the previous main event, more than all but two fights for the rest of this year. To me, it had significance, because it means something, and may even be the most important fight, in determining who the best lighter weight fighter in the sport is. But there's another thing more important, that a lot of hardcore fans who would agree with these views are missing. If UFC markets to us, they would be playing in 2,000-seat casino halls, selling almost no tickets to the public, airing on ESPN2 with a $40,000 budget for the entire show, and nobody would know who the fighters are, except people like us.
Years ago, a UFC marketer was telling me about a study they had done to trying and find out who and what their audience was. What they found out was that 90 percent of their audience viewed MMA as a night of entertainment. Nothing more. They watched the show to have a social night out to have fun with their friends. Very few cared about won-loss records. Even fewer knew what anyone's win-loss record was. Sure, titles and the chase of titles are important, as they should be. Fighters need personality and fights need stories, or else nobody will care about them.
And here's what I had to say about the matchmaking (if you like my video rants subscribe to MMA Nation on YouTubeand get them as soon as they're uploaded):
The reality is that the fans who pay the UFC's bills don't know who Chris Weidman is and since he won't add anything to the PPV buy, Silva needs to be kept a safe distance from him until or unless Weidman is properly introduced to the mass of UFC casual fans as the terror he is. A fight that could realistically see Silva lose for the first time in the UFC is not something to throw together in a rush. It needs to be built.
Honestly I'm not sure Silva will ever defend his MW title again. If he beats Bonnar and Georges St. Pierre beats Carlos Condit, it's off to Texas Stadium for a superfight between GSP and Silva. From there, should Silva win, Dana White is already talking about a possible Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva fight.
Those superfights are where the money is, not title defenses against relative unknowns. Sorry kids, that's just the way it is.