I did it at least nine times. How else would I inherit his empire?
By Jason Moles
Last week MMA Fighting reported that Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, real life son-in-law of WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, said he thought the UFC should evolve like the pro wrestling juggernaut has, “because quite frankly sometimes the fights are long and boring, guys lying around and sometimes the fights are fast and over in five seconds.”
Is “The Game” right? Does it matter? Before we pass judgment on his comments, let’s take a quick look at a few specific examples he gave for his opinion, then weigh the pros and cons of leaning too far towards Entertainment or Winning.
“[They should] give more of an entertainment standpoint. Give more form; they just have fighters who walk in in T-shirts and shorts and just stand there and then they fight and then they win and then they go ‘thanks, I’d like to thank my sponsors’ and then they leave. The whole world was up in arms when Brock was flipping people off and was cussing at the beer company because they didn’t give him any money. The whole world was talking about it. They couldn’t wait to see him get beat up. And then he did well, and he beat some guys and then people jump on his bandwagon going ‘Brock’s the greatest.’”
It appears that Hunter has taken a few too many chair shots over the years and has become quite confused. You see, his comments do not reflect a desire to see the UFC evolve — rather he would have them take a page out of Vinnie Mac’s script and add a bunch of Chael Sonnen is Sick of Fighters Creating Fake Drama to Sell a Fight…Wait. What?!!” href=”http://www.cagepotato.com/chael-sonnen-is-sick-of-fighters-creating-fake-drama-to-sell-a-fight-wait-what/” target=”_blank”>fabricated drama to invoke human interest so the audience will become emotionally invested in the product.
His only valid point was the comments made about boring fights. Would you not agree? Dana White certainly does. Remember that interview with SI.com when they asked him if it’s a fighter’s job to entertain or just win fights.
Sure. But you’ve got to be exciting! If all we cared about was guys winning fights, you know how many wrestlers could just go lay on a guy? There are tons of wrestlers that could do that. I don’t know. Do you think we’d be talking about all these big plans and all the exciting things that we’re going to be doing if that was the case? I mean, that’s a pretty stupid question. If somebody really asks that question, you’d have to look at them and go, “Are you stupid?” Seriously, it’s a really dumb question.
Hear that Mr. Game? You’re preaching to the choir.
Why do most fighters fight? Money. How can they make more money? Winning, bonuses, and sponsorships. How do these streams of cash grow? Higher TV Ratings and increased PPV buy rates — essentially, you need more people watching your product. How do you get more people to watch your product? Be exciting, which means, according to the average MMA fan, you need to KO your opponent or get them to tap out. Whatever you do, it has to be fast-paced and explosive. Easy enough, right?
What happens if a fighter’s goal is solely to entertain the crowd and look for the Knockout of the Night bonus? We laugh at his attempts to defeat better opposition — guys who actually have a gameplan and well-rounded skill-set, and know more than what they learned in Mike Tyson’s ‘Punch-Out!’. Does this hypothetical slugger have a tendency to give us highlight-reel material from time to time? Sure. But you won’t see him in the main event anytime soon [Ed. note: well...] because although he’s an exciting guy to watch, his skills can only take him so far up the contender ladder. So much for that cash flow increasing.
Conversely, we have “safe” fighters whose only objective is to win, good, bad, or ugly…and it’s usually the latter two. When these guys fight, the numbers don’t suddenly jump off the charts. No one says, “I am pumped to see Jon Fitch fight again,” since the only thing he seems to care about is getting a ‘W’ and that paper. If he only understood that laying someone the eff out would garner him much more money than merely violating him for fifteen minutes, we’d all be winners.
So how do we deal with this contradiction? Should fighters fight to get a win at all costs, even if it means hearing a roar of boos as you smother your opponent for three rounds, or should you call your shot as you step up to the plate, swinging for the fences the entire bout hoping you drop him before he drops you?
So since Triple H brought it up, let’s talk about “evolution,” and what it means in this sport. The UFC has grown and adapted to the changes in our culture by adding rules, protective gear, and a referee. As the organization continued to grow, it became more corporate, breaking away from its blue collar, blood-thirsty past. Dana White and the Fertittas will continue to allow the UFC to evolve, just as the sport of mixed martial arts itself did. Remember when it was a fight between a karate guy and a boxer, fighting to see which style was superior? Now we have guys who can do it all — or at least all that is necessary to eke out a win — squaring off to determine which fighter, not style, is king.
In the end, the only thing that matters is that everyone is satisfied. White wants to be satisfied with the success of the UFC which is ultimately dependent upon its fighters, who want to be satisfied with what they are paid, which largely depends on the fans — who really just want to be satisfied with how enjoyable the fights are. So I just have to ask, ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!