(No party can last forever. / Photo via Getty)
By Mike Fagan
A few weeks ago, I posed a question to Twitter: “What are the odds the UFC doesn’t exist in 50 years?” I figured most people would call me crazy for even asking the question, since human beings underestimate the likelihood of unlikely events. Yet, the responses I got — responses from people whose opinions I respect — swung hard the other way:
“Really really high.”
“Absolutely gone within 50 years.”
“50 years? 99 percent.”
“[W]ould guess better than 50% chance it doesn’t exist in 50 years.”
“I’d say zero chance in 50 years.”
Of the ten or so people to respond, none gave the UFC better than a 50/50 shot of existing in 50 years. Now, that seems low to me, but it speaks to the nonzero probability that the UFC may cease to exist between now and 2064.
The UFC seems to be in total control. They’ve bested all their serious competitors. Their TV deal with Fox/Fox Sports has cemented them in the mainstream, albeit a NASCAR-esque niche of that mainstream. They have a virtual monopoly on the top fighters in the sport. So what could bring them down? Let’s speculate!
THE IMPENDING APOCALYPSE! This one’s cheating, but let’s just use it as a catch-all for natural disasters, acts of God(s), and mutually assured destruction. We also shouldn’t discount the possibility of aliens returning for Georges St-Pierre. In short, there may not be a place for MMA because there may not be a place for human beings on this planet.
HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER! Ted Turner bought Jim Crockett Promotions in November 1988 and renamed it World Championship Wrestling. Within six years, Monday Nitro, WCW’s flagship TV show, began drawing better ratings than the then-named World Wrestling Federation’s Monday Night Raw. WCW ultimately failed in its attempt to usurp the WWF, and Turner was forced to sell the promotion in 2001.
It’s not a perfect analogy — the WWF of 1990 did not have the same sort of stranglehold on talent as current-day UFC (or WWE for that matter). The perfect time to enter the market would have been in the vacuum of Pride’s absence, and the UFC has already weathered storms that Affliction and Strikeforce posed.