I'm going to preface this piece by saying I love the UFC. I am biased. I find the product to be fun, well-produced and easy to watch. It's a phenomenal product. I also love Dana White. I will never understand the hundreds of MMA bloggers out there that spend a majority of their time hammering away at White for virtually everything under the sun. They attack his language, conduct, credibility and anything else that comes to mind. The man is not perfect but MMA is where it is largely because of his actions.
I'm also frustrated by the constant complaint that we somehow are "oversaturated" by mixed martial arts on television. Whenever there is a free fight on Spike TV or Showtime, I see this argument make the rounds on blogs and message boards. I usually find it ludicrous. There are 162 baseball games -- per team -- before one pitch is thrown in the postseason. The NHL season spans autumn, winter and spring. I know the professional wrestling comparison irks some people, but the WWE supports four weekly TV shows plus pay per views each month.
There isn't too much MMA on television. Even train wreck MMA has entertainment value. I watched Yamma Pit Fighting. I know of what I speak.
Keeping that in mind, it's possible UFC is putting on too many pay per views. For evidence, look no further than UFC 127. It could be that I am judging the fight too harshly. It's following one of the most loaded fight cards I have seen to date. UFC 126 featured big names in Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin. It had rising superstars in Jon Jones, Ryan Bader and Donald Cerrone. And UFC 126 boasted maybe the best fighter in the world in Anderson Silva. All competing on the same night. What does UFC 127 have? One, maybe two names your average sports fan has ever heard of?
You take B.J. Penn off this card and it's a Fight Night for Spike TV at best. Why are we being asked to pay $50 (more if you want it in HD) for this fight card which comes mere weeks after a much more loaded event that was the same price? It makes no sense to me.
As a big MMA fan, I will enjoy watching Penn punish a very good but very boring John Fitch. I appreciate the effort that Jorge Rivera and Ranger Up are making to juice up their fight with the unlikable Michael Bisping. I really do. That said, if I did not write for this site, I would not order this fight. It stinks. There is no pop. No sizzle. Worse, there is nothing to draw in the non-fanatic other than Penn.
There needs to be some sort of middle ground here. If the UFC is going to do a subpar card overseas, why can't it be $25? Why not put it on Ion or Spike? I understand that building a global brand is important to Dana White, but it does nothing for me. While Germany, Ireland and Australia are getting cards loaded with people from their country, that does nothing to make the events more attractive stateside. You want me to care Dana? I care. But not enough to pay the same price for Brian Ebersole that I do for Jon Jones.
Why load up UFC 126 if UFC 127 is going to suffer? I realize traveling overseas poses problems, but they sure put on a nice little performance in Abu Dhabi, didn't they? When they want to do it, they can. UFC prides itself on booking the best fights between the best fighters. I just wish they would do a better job of distributing said fights when they are asking me for 60 bucks twice in three weeks.