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The Internet Matters

Following the incredible reaction to the first Liddell/Silva match, the UFC wanted to do a rematch in June.  The match would draw big following their first one, and either outcome would give them something very marketable.  Instead they opted to go with Liddell/Shogun, and according to Dave Meltzer, they changed their mind entirely as a result of internet criticism of too many rematches.  I'll take his word for it since he speaks directly with those who make the matches.

For all his bashing of the internet, Dana obviously reads a lot of what is posted.  He was engaged in a flame war earlier over at The Underground over Fedor, but the thread has been deleted.  The influence is real, no matter how much trash he talks.

I think that for the most part this influence is a good thing.  Nearly all other major sports are influenced in their decisions by the mainstream press, and since it does not cover MMA seriously, it is up to the blogs and the online megasites like Sherdog and MMA Weekly.  I think this influence should and will grow, but The UFC needs to be very careful about who it listens to.

The loudest voices on message boards are usually the people who were against Shamrock/Ortiz 2 and 3, thought Chuck/Ortiz was a shitty fight nobody wanted to see, would not have brought Brock Lesnar in, and can't imagine why Lyoto Machida doesn't have a title shot next month.  Remembering a few years back, they also thought TUF was a stupid idea that would ruin the "purity" of their sport.  If these fans had their way, The UFC would not be in the position it is in today.  It would not be sponsored by Bud Light, it would not be covered occasionally by ESPN, it would not be negotiating with major broadcast networks, and frankly, it would probably be out of business.

The MMA internet fanbase really can add a lot to The UFC, whether it's pointing out unfair pay, hypocrisy, poor card booking, shitty shows, company mistakes, or any number of other things.  But when a loud chorus starts advocating the idea of abandoning a fight that will do big business just for the sake of their own tastes, UFC should just ignore that chorus, and keep on doing what they've been doing right for a few years now.

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