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Two Views of MMA as a Business

The mark's perspective by way of the FDH Lounge:

Now that the UFC is taking advantage of the opportunity to snap up all of the world's top fighters under one banner, we will see heretofore unlikely "dream fights" several times per year. Silva joins Rampage Jackson, Cro Cop and others as fighters now able to be paired in combat with any other top-level competitors in the world. With the difficulties of the aforementioned major sports and the boxing world being choked by the politics which have been conquered by the UFC, within 2-3 years we may be speaking of another entity on the top tier of American sports.

A more savvy take from Lotfi Sariahmed at 411 Mania

The question here is whether or not the sport CAN increase its revenue to the point where you get these big sponsors for MMA events. Nike, Adidas, Microsoft, Budweiser and a whole list of other corporations like that need to become involved for that to happen. Of course those corporations will most likely end up sponsoring UFC shows given the popularity of the promotion.

The closest the UFC got to the big name sponsorship was Miller Lite back at I believe UFC 43. Now we have XBOX 360 for the IFL and Mickey's (Miller Lite owns Mickey's) is in the UFC. But the sport still lacks that really big sponsor. No Coke, no Bud, no MacDonalds. So how does the sport increase its revenues?

Put on the best fights of course. The UFC is trying to do that bringing in newly signed fighters from PRIDE with EliteXC as its "closest" competition. But even for the UFC, it's really difficult to sign all the best fighters out there. As long as there are other promotions out there like EliteXC, like Bodog and like K-1, there are other places fighters can choose to go. The UFC can't buy every organization out.
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Promotions need to work together to put on the best fights and that just doesn't look like it's going to happen. There will be some big name fighters who go to other organizations. Denis Kang, one of the top middleweights in the world, is all but confirmed to be on his way to K-1 where he'll fight Kazushi Sakuraba on an upcoming card. So where does that leave the UFC? Unless the UFC somehow manages to sign Matt Lindland, those are two top five middleweights fighting in some other promotion. Anderson Silva could blow through all the rest of the competition the UFC middleweight division has to offer and there will still be questions as to whether or not he's the best in the world. Fans will ask about dream match-ups against Lindland and Kang.

If promotions can't work together to put on these super fights, where's the incentive for the major sponsors to jump on board with MMA?

It's up to the promotions to work together and put on fights that fans need to see. There is no De La Hoya v. Mayweather fight in MMA yet in terms of PPV buys and revenue.

Since the rumors persist that UFC is letting Fedor slip away, I'd have to agree with Sariahmed from 411, until the sport is bigger than the individual promotions, it won't be a truly major league sport.