As most things in life, the increasing number of televised events the UFC is holding is neither good, nor is it bad. It merely is, and has consequences. The problem is not whether or not it leads to a "diluted product", but the fact that it leads to diluted products as far as buying ppv is concerned.
In general, I`d say that a regular stream of events is necessary in order to maintain interest. If you don`t watch soccer for a year, you loose interest. The same goes with tennis, track and field, hockey. The same goes with TV-series, hell I`d even throw in movie sequels or books in that category. You loose interest because it`s removed from your weekly schedule and you lose your sense of familiarity with the players, the characters or even the plot in general.
UFC is stuck in Limbo at the moment. In order to increase their "presence" in the everyday lives of people, they need to increase the number of events. I`d even argue that they host to few events as it is. Compare the "once a week", for UFC-events to the 10+ Premier League games a week I could devote my spare time to? But increased number of events means that the stars you need for every televised event get spread very thin, which means that casual fans won`t watch it for free, and hard cores won`t pay for diluted ppv.
In comes Fight Pass.
I`d argue that this venue presents an unique solution to the problem. They get an opportunity to hold events every week, why not even twice a week, without throwing "no names" at the general public. I would say that the natural progression of a fighter would be something in the line of 3-4 fights on Fight Pass, moving on to FS1 cards. Maincard or even Main Event on a Fox Card... And then over to PPV.
In order to make such a transistion successfully they would need a much larger stable of fighters, which might explain the lack of recent cuts. They would also need to somewhat remodel the way they host their events.
I am amazed at the fact that every single UFC event is being organized in the same was a traveling circus or maybe a concert. If I am to pay premium to watch an event, the event would need stars. And thus the diluted product problem continues.
The solution is simple: Home Arena.
I`m from Sweden and my favorite soccerteam is Hammarby, currently taking up a spot in the SECOND division, sorta like the Championship in Englad (Only miles and miles worse in quality). Depsite this, there is a regular attendance of 12000-15000 people at every home game. Granted, the season consists of 13 home games, plus a couple of cup-games, but still?
Shouldn`t UFC be able to fill a 4000-5000 capacity crowd every week? If you need to sell it from scratch every week, with "attractions", the answer would probbaly be no, but they would, naturally, be selling season tickets.
My suggestion would be that they either build their own small arena, or make a deal with one of the Las Vegas Casinos, making it "The home of UFC". I for one am going to Vegas this summer, and if I knew that one of the Casinos held weekly UFC events, it would probably influence the venue I would frequent. And besides the tourists, Vegas doesn`t have any team sports in any major league, right? Why not make UFC their "major league team"?
So in short. I think the UFC should have their own small venue, host weekly (or bi-weekly) cards filled with prospects and "cheap" veterans, perhaps on a loosing streak. Such a card could be five-six fights, costing maybe 120-150k in salaries. Production costs would be low, since they could have everything in place, and tickets are already sold through the casino or "season ticket holder". The events are solely shown on Fight Pass.
I`d also argue that this way, you could have less fights per event, minimizing the amount of fights in empty arenas and marathon events dragging out over 6 hours. 3 hours, 7 fights would be good. Maybe 5-6 for Fight Pass events. I`d even go so far as to maybe ditching the "prelims" altogether and just have more events. Prelims should maybe be reserved for the "huge" arena cards, hosted on Fox or PPV.
All in all this would lead to Hard Cores staying hooked, and gladly paying 10 dollars (20?) a month to watch these events. When fighters graduate from Fight Pass, their is a good amount of footage and they are a known quantity to Hard Cores whom in turn can "sell" the fighters to the casuals. And when a fighter finally graduates to PPV?
Well, I`d buy that event for a dollar.