(Lofty claim that is later revoked + at least two f-bombs = another classic DW soundbite.)
If you follow any other MMA site(s) besides CagePotato — which, why? — then you might have heard that the UFC is planning on raising the pay-per-view price of UFC 168 from $44.95/$54.95 HD to $49.95/$59.95 HD. You also might have been directed to the above clip, taken from a media scrum prior to UFC 96, in which Dana White declares that he “will f*cking go on record right now and say I will not raise pay-per-view.”
Whether the five dollar increase will only apply to UFC 168 or to all future UFC PPVs is still up in the air, but the increase has raised a few questions amongst the staff here at CagePotato, so we figured we’d lay out our qualms with the price hike, then let you, our esteemed readers, weigh in. Join us after the jump to get in on the discussion.
Random Thought #1: Does This Mean That the Price of Subpar PPVs Will Go Down?
I’m being facetious of course, but if the increased PPV price turns out to be just a one time thing for UFC 168, it raises an interesting predicament regarding how the UFC gauges the quality of each card. By raising the price of UFC 168, Dana & Co. are essentially telling fans, “This is the most stacked, hyped-up card of the year and the price has been adjusted accordingly,” which is fine, I guess, but what does that say about the less-than-stacked PPV cards we are surely in for down the line, or the value of the fighters competing on them, for that matter?
Fortunately for us, the next couple UFC cards don’t really face this dilemma. UFC 169 will (hopefully) feature not only the long-delayed bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao but a featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Ricardo “Remember Me?” Lamas. UFC 171 is ages away, but a light heavyweight title tilt between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira is a good start to a card that will surely feature several more big names before all is said and done. But neither of these cards are arguably as stacked as UFC 168, so should the PPV price reflect this? And while I’m asking questions based around the completely unattainable false reality I have just constructed, why won’t Halle Berry return my phone calls?
Random Thought #2: Why Now?
The obvious answer to this question being: UFC 168 is the first card since 2007 that will feature Anderson Silva fighting for a title, and that is something that every MMA should be willing to fork over a couple extra bucks for. The UFC wants this buyrate to be huge; that much we know. I’m talking Sonnen vs. Silva II huge. I’m talking that time Michael Bisping fought Fedor on Zeus’s shoulders and they both could punch but only one could kick huge. But charging fans more for a PPV in a time when fan interest appears to be waning seems about as foolproof as, well, a subscription-based digital network in a world where torrenting is a thing. I base these opinions, of course, on absolutely nothing.
Sure, UFC 167 broke the bank, but so does every Canadian-based card headlined by GSP. American stars like Jon Jones, on the other hand, have seen their buyrates decline lower than ever before in recent months. UFC 165′s numbers were “low.” UFC 166′s were “hugely disappointing.” Hiking the price is not the solution. Suppose I owned a hardware store; if I wasn’t selling any hammers at $5 a pop, I sure as hell wouldn’t raise them to $6 in the hope that people would start buying them.
At the end of the day, you’d have to be dumber than that analogy to pass up this card. But at the minimum, the timing of the price hike makes you wonder whether it will become a permanent addition or not in 2014.
While it’s damn near impossible to deny the necessity of (and interest in) a Weidman/Silva rematch, one could argue that fans are not nearly as interested in a Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate rematch as the UFC thinks we are. You can blame it on the new network all you want, but the TUF 18 ratings have been rather lackluster this past season. Rather lackluster, indeed. (*huffs glue from a dirty sock*)
Did Tate give Rousey her toughest test to date? Maybe (Ed note: She never came this close to finishing her, that’s for sure). Is there a legitimate rivalry between Rousey and Tate that is sure to stir up fan interest? Brother, you don’t even know…
…come to think of it, the fans who don’t tune into Rousey/Tate II in the hope of seeing Rousey knocked off her “real mean” pedestal will likely tune in for the chance to see a woman’s arm literally ripped from her body. Something about moths to flame. I recant my previous statement, but still stand firmly in the “rematches should not become the high standard of UFC matchmaking moving forward” camp.
But what do you think of the price hike, Nation? Will you happily fork over the extra cash, or just continue stealing PPVs from sketchy foreign sites as is tradition?