(Undercard fighter or ESPN personality? – it’s a surprisingly difficult game. Photo courtesy of Stuart Scott’s Twitter.)
CP staff writers Jared Jones and Seth Falvo have a few bones to pick with this weekend’s UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida card. Mainly, its non-existent advertising, lack of good underdog bets, and blatant bait-and-switch tactics regarding its FS1 prelims. Read along to understand what it’s like to watch two grown-ass men slowly march down the path of insanity.
Al Bundy gifs will reign.
Despite being just one day out from the biggest UFC event of the summer, the hype surrounding this card seems non-existent. Have you even seen an advertisement for this event that didn’t take place during a lesser UFC card? The UFC can’t possibly believe that this is adequate advertising…can they?
SF: Buddy, I haven’t seen a single advertisement for this card, period. What, did you really think I’d be one of the nine people who watched UFC Ultimate Step to This Never Back Down: Live from New Zealand?
As for whether or not this is adequate advertising, you’re missing the point entirely. The public isn’t burnt out from a lack of advertising efforts, they’re burnt out from constant exposure to generic cards composed of completely meaningless fights.
JJ: I already touched on the complete lack of advertising for this card in my UFC 175 fight hype article on Wednesday, so I’ll (try to) be brief. While I’d personally rather see no advertising at all for a UFC event than be repeatedly subjected to the music of Linkin Park, I must admit that the UFC’s decision to not advertise a card with two title fights (two!) is a bit puzzling. I mean, sure, one of them is a Japanese freak show-level squash match, but still, UFC 175 has a lot more to offer from a marketing standpoint than several cards prior.
Honestly, I’m starting to thinking Dana’s barely beneath the surface hatred for MMA fans with discernable taste is starting to affect his business decisions. He’s gone from trying to convince us that every fight is of the same quality, no matter how blatant a lie he must craft, to simply trolling us with his “Fuck You, Take It” understanding of how to advertise his product. “You say no one cares about little flyweights? Beat them over the head with ads. A double title fight card? PULL ALL SPONSORS.”
My point is, the UFC no longer cares about advertising, because they no longer care about the quality of the cards they expect us to pay $60 for. They’re just going to keep doing their thing while reiterating that business is in fact “booming” and barely pausing to consider that their customers might actually be right every now and again. It’s a brilliant business strategy if you’ve never learned a thing about how a business is run.
This has gotten off to a depressing start.
Lyoto Machida presents a very interesting matchup for Chris Weidman. If you’re looking to gamble on an underdog this weekend, is he your smartest option?
SF: A bet on Machida definitely isn’t the worst way to spend a few bucks, that’s for sure. But how about we look over the rest of the card before we call a (+155) underdog the smartest option. Let’s see…Alexis Davis and Alex Caceres are strictly “never gonna happen $5 for shiggles” picks, so they’re both out. I’m keeping my money as far away from Struve vs. Mitrione as possible, so Mitrione is out. Doane vs. Brimage is currently at pick ‘em odds, and I’ve never even heard of most of these undercard fighters. However, Urijah Hall (-450) vs. Thiago Santos (+325) is exactly the kind of underdog odds that I like, so I’m going to say that Santos is the slightly-smarter option.
Maybe the $80 I made off of Santos when he stepped into the cage as a +800 underdog against an overrated Ronny Markes in March is clouding my judgment, but I really don’t see why “Anderson Silva 3.0 (LOL)” is such a heavy favorite here. Are the oddsmakers really that impressed by the fact that the Uriah Hall who was fighting for his job after an 0-2 UFC run managed to defeat the unmotivated, fading Chris Leben who retired immediately after the fight? “Bro, Hall defeated a DISINTERESTED FADING LEGEND! Do you even know how hard that is? HE IS READY TO FACE! THE PAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNN!” No thanks. I’ll gladly throw another $10 down on Santos, which will return over twice as much money as a bet on Machida would.
JJ: Bro, Chris Leben is a *BEAST* with a granite chin and K1-level striking, bro! Seriously, bro?! BRO!!
I’m sorry, I think I just had a mini aneurysm. But as far as underdogs go, I’m running into the same issue as you, in that I don’t know who enough of these guys are to place bets on them. Machida doesn’t present a good enough cashback option to warrant a bet on him, and there’s no way I’m betting on Davis or the likelihood of Stefan Struve’s heart *not* imploding (too soon?). Fuck it, I’ll go with a 20 spot on the debuting Rob Font. He’s paired up against one of the most consistently inconsistent fighters of them all in George Roop, and a quick look over his record shows that he does possess the kind of KO power to finish the always KO-able Roop.
I’d also be tempted to throw a few bills at returning TUF 17 vet Kevin Casey, who is fresh off a first round blistering of Andrew Sanchez at RFA 15 to capture the promotion’s middleweight title. Then again, the guy he’s fighting is named Bubba Bush, so yeah, he’s probably f*cked.
Will the main event and “The Biggest Star We’ve Ever Had” be enough to get this year’s Fourth of July card over 500k buys?
SF: I can’t even. Al, you’re up!
JJ: Uh…it could do 500k buys if it…uh…ah screw it. Keep on dancing, Al!
Urijah Faber headlining the FS1 prelims behind Brimage vs. Doane on the card we’re supposed to pay money for is quite possibly the most blatant bait-and-switch the UFC has ever pulled. Does the UFC really lack as much respect for its fans as it seems to?
SF: I’m not sure I’d call this a bait-and-switch. I see what they’re trying to do, I just don’t think it’s going to work. By putting Urijah Faber on the preliminary card, they’re encouraging the casual fans who would otherwise skip the prelims to tune in. This boosts their dreadful FS1 ratings – by the way, I’m willing to bet Faber on Fox was more Fox’s decision than the UFC’s decision – and because the go-home show before a pay-per-view is extremely influential on buy rates, this may also encourage the dudebro tuning in for a free Faber fight to purchase the pay-per-view.
Of course, this line of thinking really falls apart once you begin to question it. For starters, how many fans do they actually think are going to tune in for the preliminaries just because Uriah Faber is fighting on the preliminaries? Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that if you actually care about preliminary fights, you aren’t a casual fan, and one recognizable name isn’t going to change this. As for the idea that the fans tuning in for Faber are now more likely to buy the pay-per-view, who exactly is going to watch a Urijah Faber fight that wasn’t already planning on watching Weidman, Machida, and Ronda Rousey? And even if these fans actually exist, does anyone think those fans are going to pay for fights that they don’t care about, simply because they just watched a fight that they do care about for free? Do they actually believe their own “All it takes is just one fight to turn a person into a hardcore fan” insanity?
Or maybe they’re somehow lacing the Faber fight with black tar heroin, in which case, yeah, that’s pretty disrespectful to get me addicted to drugs unknowingly, UFC.
JJ: I’m sure that Yahoo reporter/UFC shill Kevin Iole would tell you that placing Faber on the prelims makes perfect sense, before supporting his argument with a line of reasoning so backwards and illogical you’d think it had been dreamed up by David Lynch. And I get it, placing Faber on the prelims to boost FS1 ratings could work, but at what cost, Seth? AT WHAT COST.
Urijah Faber is a main card fighter. Russell Doane is not. Case closed.
Before we leave, anything you’d like to say about the TUF 19 Finale: Edgar vs. Penn 3?
JJ: BJ PENN CAME OUT OF RETIREMENT?!!! WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!!!!
SF: …that’s a real event?
One final *final* question: Is the #WeekofDanga destined to go down as one of the greatest, most creative endeavors in CagePotato history?
SF: No question! #WeekofDanga #DangaArmy #NOLA
JJ: You’re right, Seth, it *isn’t* an actual question. I just added threw it in (and wrote your response) after you were finished drafting up your answers. Thanks for the kind words, though! #WeekofDanga #FarrahAbrahamforPresident