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Fight Night 77 Aftermath, Or, A Plea From A Sleep-Deprived UFC Fan

(Hey, at least one of us is getting some shut-eye. via Getty.) 

To whom it may concern (attn: L Fertitta),

Before we even get started, we here at CagePotato wanted to first congratulate your promotion on an absolutely stellar night of fights this weekend. On paper, Fight Night 77 looked as if it would be one of the best FN cards in the UFC’s history, and we’re happy to admit that it largely exceeded our already heightened expectations from top-to-bottom. A credit is due to both Sean Shelby and Joe Silva for their continuously amazing efforts.

Now that we’ve sucked you off enough to possibly earn our credentials back, we feel the need to raise our concerns about what has become an increasingly discouraging aspect of both your Fight Night and pay-per-view cards: The pacing. We know that your organization has never exactly taken well to (or even objectively recognized) criticism, but we’re also not the first ones to complain about this issue, so we figured we’d give this a shot.

With a six fight main card kicking off at 10 pm EST, you were already pushing the limits of plausibility in regards to your allotted time slot. Throw in the fact that the first fight of the night kicked off at 6:45 and you were pretty much guaranteeing that only hardcore fans would be sticking around to witness the non-title, wholly unnecessary trilogy fight featured in your main event — unless you honestly believed that the “casual” demographic you so often pine after would honestly stomach 6 hours of mixed martial arts competition consisting by large of unknown prospects, in which case, I’ve got a Nigerian prince who could really use your help.

Thankfully, your FS1 undercard managed to clip along at a nice pace, with three out of the four fights wrapping up inside the distance (don’t even try to deny the sigh of relief you surely breathed after seeing Clay Guida get choked out in 30 seconds). That the people’s main event — otherwise known as the “featured prelim” — ended in a tight 2 minutes thanks to some negligent refereeing led us to believe that maybe, just maybe, the main card would continue to carry the momentum.

And after a slow start, it did, with the final four bouts all resulting in finishes — two of which ended in the first round. Of course, not many of us actually managed to catch those final bouts because you, in your infinite wisdom, opted to once again fill whole blocks of time with absolute nonsense.

Let’s talk about your two most egregious failures, shall we? First up, the FOX studio.

With all due respect to Karyn Bryant, Dominick Cruz, and whatever other former/current fighter they usually rotate between, we have no use for them (exception: Kenny Florian and his awesome hair). It might make the sport look more “legitimate” to have an analyst team, but the truth is, none of us really care to hear whatever mumbling, stuttering fight recap you think passes as analysis these days, especially when it’s being applied to a fight we literally just watched 5 minutes ago.

Unless you’re going to get Robin Black in there to break down footwork and fight mechanics with fancy graphics, we really don’t need to hear Yves Edwards tell us that Pat Cummins should’ve shot for more takedowns on Glover Teixeira as opposed to, you know, getting the living f*ck beat out of him on the feet.

And you see, analysis like this isn’t just a boring, pointless way to kill time in the middle of an already overlong broadcast, it’s a symptom of a much bigger issue: You treat your audience like they are children.

Can we please abandon the notion that MMA is going to become this universally-accepted, globally-f*cking-dominated sport like soccer or basketball? Believe it or not, there are people out there who simply don’t cater to violence no matter how pretty a package you dress it up in, and will therefore never understand the “art” of mixed martial arts. MMA is and will always be a niche sport to some degree, which is what makes its fans so passionate about it — and by “passionate,” I mean “able to tell a counter hook from an armbar.*”

Basically, we don’t need an analyst team to baby us through a fight we just saw replayed some 10 times following the fight itself. That’s what Brian Stann is for, and that’s what he consistently does (with far more eloquence than your analyst team, I might add) every time he is behind the mic.

It’s this lack of respect (or maybe understanding) for your fanbase that brings us to Glaring Issue #2: The blatant, overwhelming self-promotion that pervades your broadcasts.

Look, I get it, you gotta get paid at the end of the day, and who in their right mind would turn down free advertising? However, when said self-advertisements start to distract from — and at times, dominate — the actual broadcast, it kind of kills the idea that you’re interested in anything other than milking us for every last dollar we have.

A prime example: After seeing Pat Cummins get obliterated by Glover Teixeira in Saturday’s co-main event at roughly 12:30 am, we fully expected that Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort would be lined up and ready to enter the arena. What did you do instead? Oh, only followed up a five-minute recap of their fight history (acceptable) with a 10-minute, mini-Countdown episode/advertisement for UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm.

How. F*cking. Dare. You.

Are you honestly so deluded that you think there are fans out there who would stay up until 1 a.m. to watch a regional Fight Night card while simultaneously being unaware that Ronda Rousey — the most popular fighter in your promotion and a supposed “once in human history” athlete — is fighting next weekend? Or is it that you simply don’t care? In either case, we’ll take a page from your book and repeat ourselves again (with a phrase that Joe Rogan loves to use, no less): How dare you.

Let’s say I was a (professional) musician. If I had even the smallest amount of gratitude for my fans, I wouldn’t show up to a gig at a small town concert hall and take time out of my setlist to tell them about how next week’s show at the Bellagio IS GONNA BE THE *REAL* SHOW TO CHECK OUT. It’s insulting, for starters, and completely disregards those fans of mine who maybe can’t afford to pay, I dunno, $70 twice a month to see me fill an arena. Because, to me at least, my fans are not mindless sheep who I have to guide from profitable endeavor to profitable endeavor. They’re actual human beings who I should thank for showing up, or at the very least, let know that I am prioritizing above anyone else for at least one night.

But rather than taking the time to even be grateful for those of us who stayed up well past the hours of reasonability to see Belfort do exactly what we all knew he was going to do to Hendo, you instead opted to try and sell us on what’s going down *next* week. As if we weren’t aware. As if the event we were currently watching didn’t matter. As if we’re idiots — which to be fair, many of us are, but not when it comes to remembering fights.

More and more nowadays, it seems as if your broadcasts are becoming these giant, overpriced salads that force us to sift through leaf after leaf of store-bought, iceberg lettuce to find a piece of ham, a slice of turkey, a f*cking crouton — anything worth sinking our teeth into. So I beg of you, Lorenzo, Dana, or whoever is behind these increasingly bloated cards, to wake the hell up and realize who your fans are. I know everyone’s a critic (especially us), but if you maybe once responded to said criticism with anything more than a Twitter tirade and a “business as usual” hurumph, maybe, just maybe, we’d be more understanding.

*Then again, if these “Discipline” shirts are any indication, maybe it’s you who are having trouble telling the difference.   

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