As some promoters would have you believe, UFC 168: Silva vs. Weidman 2 is the biggest event in UFC history. It’s so stacked, in fact, that some unnamed executives at Zuffa decided to raise the price of the card $5, in a one-time-only mini-gouge. (Dana White’s explanation for this? “Cuz.” Ladies and gentlemen, your UFC president.)
The price bump carries the implication that UFC 168 is not just a great pay-per-view event, it’s more valuable than every single UFC show that came before it. But is it? Let’s take a quick look at the pay-per-view lineup — i.e., the five fights they’re asking you to pay for:
Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (for UFC middleweight title)
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate (for women’s bantamweight title)
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne (HW)
Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes (LW)
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao (FW)
To me, we’re talking about three big fights. The shocking ending of Silva vs. Weidman 1 gives their rematch a great narrative (horrible marketing aside), and it’s safe to say that most UFC fans are curious to see how the sequel will turn out. Rousey vs. Tate is compelling simply because all Ronda Rousey appearances are compelling, but there’s nothing to suggest that her second meeting with Miesha won’t end in another first-round armbar. And Barnett vs. Browne? Yep, I’m on board for that.
Beyond that, we have two solid contender fights that you could find on any other UFC main card. This kind of arrangement would place UFC 168 in line with past mega-shows like UFC 92 and UFC 100, which also followed the “two huge fights, one really good fight, two pretty decent fights” format. The difference is, the UFC never tried to jack up the prices of those shows, and there’s a reason for that. In 2008-2009, a UFC card with two big-name title fights was a special occasion. These days, it’s a ultra-rare fluke — and this might be the last time you see it.