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Tag: oversaturation

The UFC Needs to Massively Scale Down The Amount of PPVs Each Year


(“PPV buys are higher than ever, dummies. These goofy Internet fucks know NOTHING. Everything is fine.”—Dana White doing his best impersonation of this guy. / Photo via Getty)

By Mike Fagan

Cain Velasquez became another victim (again) of the UFC’s so-called “injury bug,” pulling out of UFC 180 with a knee injury. This is great news for people who want to see a weirdo holding a UFC heavyweight title as Mark Hunt stepped in to fight original challenger Fabricio Werdum. This is bad news for fans who want to watch the greatest heavyweight talent in the sport since Fedor Emelianenko. It’s horrible news for the UFC, who set up this event in Mexico City to both help cultivate the Mexican market and provide a similar atmosphere for Velasquez that Conor McGregor received in Ireland earlier this year.

It’s another blow to the UFC’s pay-per-view business. UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told Sports Business Daily that “about 80 percent” of fights they wanted to put on have been cancelled. That’s probably an exaggeration (at least if we’re looking at the entirety of the UFC’s matchmaking), but the reality isn’t much better. Of the 14 events including and between UFC 168 and UFC 181 (including the cancelled UFC 176), only five have escaped an injury to a fighter in either the main or co-main event. That is, 64% of UFC PPVs within that timeframe have had alterations or cancellations to one of the featured bouts at the top of the card.

Combined with the loss of Georges St-Pierre (quasi-retirement) and Anderson Silva (wishboned leg), the injuries at the top of marquee events have led the UFC to its worst year on pay-per-view since 2005. In 2005, the UFC ran six pay-per-view events for a total of 950,000 buys and an average of 158,000 per event. This year hasn’t been that bad (2.22M total buys/277,500 per event), but that’s far below the “down years” of 2011-13. (It should be noted that those “down years” are in line with the total PPV business the UFC did prior to the 2009-10 Lesnar Era.)

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Video: Comedian Russell Peters Says the UFC ‘Will Play Itself Out’ Due to Oversaturation


(Props: @JayRussellMMA)

Standup comedy superstar and Last Comic Standing judge Russell Peters went on SiriusXM’s Todd Shapiro Show last week, and spent a minute discussing his love of boxing and MMA. As Peters sees it, boxing is about to enjoy a resurgence, but the UFC brand is struggling due to oversaturation. I mean, we’ve been saying the same thing about UFC oversaturation since 2012, but we’re just a bunch of keyboard warriors and haters, right? Russell Peters is a guy who’s actually done something with his life. Here’s what he had to say:

I always said the UFC will play itself out, they’ll oversaturate the market and they’ll lose their event status. And that’s what’s happening lately. They’ve got a lot of cards on, but you don’t know what you’re watching. Am I watching an old fight, a rerun? Is this UFC, is this TUF, is this Fight Night? I don’t know, they’ve changed it all, they’ve given it all these different titles, so you don’t know what you’re watching anymore…[it's on] every night, and you don’t if it’s old, new, live, taped. You don’t know anymore.

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The Unsupportable Opinion: I’m Watching Bellator Instead of UFC This Friday, And You Should Too


(Bobby Lashley has swelled up to Guy on the Right proportions. That’s worth your attention, right there.)

By Shep Ramsey

Unless you’ve been trapped in your basement savoring celebrity nudes for the past few days, you can’t ignore the UFC vs. Bellator showdown this Friday night. Both MMA organizations are going head-to-head, and to make the pot even sweeter, both events take place in the not-so-glorious state of Connecticut.

Are Dana White and Scott Coker both there to lobby for MMA regulation in nearby New York, or petition for the return of the Hartford Whalers? No.

Not since Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson’s match of “Who Can Run Faster, You or Me” has the sporting world been on the edge of their seats for something of this magnitude. But first, a brief rundown of what’s been happening in each promotion.

Let’s begin with Bellator, the little-brother league that used to hold tournaments not only for its fighters to earn title shots, but also to give champions 14-month periods of rest between fights. Viacom, the mega broadcast company that currently pulls the strings, recently axed Bjorn Rebney from his presidential post for being a “dickrider,” and brought former Strikeforce mastermind Scott Coker into the fold to run this promotion before it runs itself into the ground. I mean, who else brought you the demise of Fedor Emilianenko, premiere women’s MMA battles, Frank Shamrock getting his arms broken by kicks, a post-fight brawl involving Californian gangs, and Gus “Call of the Century” Johnson?

As for the UFC, the promotion started out as an addictive source of violence after two casino heirs-turned-bodybuilders used their papa’s money to hire King Kong Bundy in a dress, and revolutionized the sport of MMA. Nowadays, UFC head honcho (and the sole reason why MMA exists) Dana White, has turned on the fans, media, and even fighters because nobody is watching the 2,034 shows his company puts on a year. Basically, it’s your fault that the UFC is watered down, and if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, but keep in mind, you’re a piece of trash for not watching and supporting fighters who are away from their families for six weeks. And fuck the media for telling you otherwise, because if they’re not with UFC, they have no business writing editorials or opinion columns that their employers pay them for.

So here we are on the eve of UFC Fight Night 50 (which really feels like 250) and Bellator 123 (which feels like 123, considering we have no idea what happened from 1 to 81). You have to pick one, and this writer is going to pretend that dual television sets, DVR, or sketchy Internet streams don’t exist. Which one is it going to be?

You bet your ass we’re watching Bellator…well, at least I am.

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UFC 175 Proves the UFC Can Still Be the “Super Bowl of MMA” When It Wants To Be


(Two of the best fighters on earth about to enter unarmed combat. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Oversaturation. Lack of stars. Declining interest. Record-low numbers. An ephemeral casual fanbase. A hardcore fanbase that doesn’t care anymore. A resurgent competitor with a new, well-liked, adept president backed by a financial titan.

Those topics have all been under substantial discussion in the past few months–as they should be. Those are the very real, very pressing problems the UFC faces as we enter the second half of 2014.

But last night at UFC 175, the MMA world was able to forget all that–specifically because of the PPV’s main and co-main events.

The co-main event featured UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey taking on challenger Alexis Davis. As Rousey headed to the cage, I took to CagePotato’s Twitter and presciently stated Rousey-Davis would be the most one-sided fight we see all year. That’s exactly what it turned out to be. Rousey vs. Davis made Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie seem well-booked and competitive.

I know what you’re saying, “Why is the UFC-sponsored cash cow Ronda Rousey winning a squash match something to get pumped up about?”

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UFC 175 and TUF 19 Finale to Be Held on Same Weekend in Las Vegas, July 5-6


(Once, they were champions. Now, they’ve got the Sunday night shift, headlining a semi-pro card for a crowd of townies with comped tickets, as sanitation workers dutifully sweep up the mess that the tourists left behind. / Photo via Getty)

I don’t know what’s more insane — the UFC holding two events on the same day on two different continents, or the UFC holding two events on the same weekend in the same city, in the same damn venue. Yesterday, the UFC announced that UFC 175 (headliner TBA) and the TUF 19 Finale (which will be headlined by Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn 3) will take place on Saturday, July 5th, and Sunday, July 6th, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

The events will conclude UFC International Fight Week 2014 (July 1-6), which will feature a UFC Fan Expo and many other related activities. Besides Edgar vs. Penn, no other bouts for either card have been reported yet. We’ll keep you posted as this sprawling UFC double-album fills up.

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The Unsupportable Opinion: MMA/The UFC Is NOT Slowly Swirling Down the Shitter


(MMA’s heyday, according to at least one guy.)

“The night is always darkest before the dawn.” — Two-Face, quoting Plato or some shit.

MMA is facing a crisis, Nation. Or so we’re being told. Not one of irrelevance, a lack of funding, or societal ignorance like it faced during the so-called “Dark Ages,” but one of complacency, of apathy. Over the past several years, we have seen the sport rise to a level of popularity we previously thought unattainable. With more major network deals, cross-promotion with major brands, and movies featuring UFC stars popping up by the day, it’s hard to argue that MMA is exactly struggling to generate interest amongst fans.

But somewhere between the death of Strikeforce and the Fight Pass subscriptions, MMA (or at least, its premiere organization) reached a tipping point. Despite an ever-burgeoning roster, the quality of the average card started to slip. Viewership began to decline. Truly “stacked” cards started to come further and further between, as did the number of marketable stars present on them.

While the UFC was busy making efforts to dominate the fucking world, its stateside presence slowly began to diminish with each lackluster “Fight Night” card, the majority of which have been spread across three channels and subscriptions-only networks. It isn’t helping that the UFC is now nickel and diming those of us hoping to watch their international events and prelims, adding to the growing “UFC is in trouble” sentiment among fans. The UFC has gotten greedy, and our view of the sport has slowly begun to shift from optimistic to apathetic as a result.

Is it simply a case of the UFC expanding too fast and oversaturating it’s niche market, as many followers of the sport will tell you? Or have fans simply lost interest in the sport now that it has become a globally recognized, increasingly expensive commodity?

Actually, the answer is a firm “no” to both of those questions. MMA is NOT rapidly descending into the watered-down, passionless, corporate-sponsored hellscape we all think it is, and everyone needs to man (or woman) the fuck up and stop acting like the sport is a lost cause.

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On Royston Wee’s Signing and the Death of “UFC-Caliber” Fighters


(This is one of approximately 4 photos that exist of the most talented fighter in all of Singapore. According to the UFC, at least. Via Yahoo.)

Who is Royston Wee, you ask? Oh, he’s just the first Singaporean fighter to ever sign a deal with the UFC is all. No big whoop. He’s also undefeated, and has picked up every single one of his victories by way of first round submission.

The problem is, Royston holds just two professional fights to his credit, and they both took place back in 2011. Yet somehow, he, along with the slightly more experienced Filipino Dave Galera (5-0) and One FC veteran (and therefore, most experienced) Leandro Issa (11-3)*, recently secured a multi-fight deal with the UFC. In fact, Royston already has his first fight lined up — against Galera at Fight Night 34:Ellenberger vs. Saffiedine, which goes down in, you guessed it, Singapore, on January 4th.

Is Royston some Brock Lesnar-level star over in “The Lion City,” you ask? Not exactly. He’s just a 27 year-old bantamweight who was competing for a spot on TUF China last July like everyone else. The difference between Royston and his fellow potential castmates, however, is that Royston was able to convince whomever he was auditioning for — in a few short hours, no less — that he was not only TUF-caliber, but that he was UFC-caliber.

Is Royston simply that good? Here’s the only video of him in action that we could find. We think it’s from his last fight against Syed Shahir, who was making his pro debut at the time and has not fought since. Royston seems like a competent enough grappler, sure, but the caliber of his opponent speaks volumes more than that of his performance.

I keep using that word: caliber. It might be because that, for a time, there was a dubious distinction that came with having the letters “UFC” placed before it. It meant that you were proven. It meant that you were exceptional. But lo, it appears that the age when “UFC-caliber” actually meant something has passed us by.

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Are Events Like UFC Fight Night 32 Why the UFC’s Popularity is Suffering?


(It’s almost 2014. Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort are still main-eventing UFC cards. / photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Cards like UFC Fight Night 32 are contributing to the death of MMA’s popularity in the US.

In case you haven’t noticed, the UFC’s numbers have been atrocious lately. UFC 165, a card headlined by the light heavyweight champion of the world and future of the company Jon Jones, drew a paltry 325,000 buys. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos III—the finale to the greatest trilogy in UFC heavyweight history—drew a slightly higher number at UFC 166.

The UFC has had woes on free television too. TUF is regularly breaking the wrong kinds of records. And the ratings on FOX Sports 1 have been inconsistent at best. They started strong with a tremendous 1.7 million (back to 2011 Spike TV levels) for UFC Fight Night 26, dropped 54% to 824,000 viewers for UFN 27, fell a further 35% to 539,000 for UFN 28, rose to 638,000 for 29, and stayed at that level for the next fight night card on FOX Sports 1, UFC Fight Night 31 (a.k.a. UFC Fight for the Troops 3).

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FOX Sports 1 to Follow Up Debut UFC Event With *Three More* Live UFC Shows in Eight-Day Stretch


(Behold: The logo that will soon be haunting your dreams. Image via NYPost/AP)

FOX Sports Media Group released more information earlier today about the initial programming schedule of Fox Sports 1, and while we already knew about the debut UFC card in Boston on August 17th (aka UFC on FOX Sports 1 1, God help us), there will also be three more live UFC fight broadcasts airing on FOX Sports 1 during an eight day stretch in late-August/early-September — one prelims specials, and two of those brand-new FOX UFC Wednesday cards. I know, I know

While details are scarce in terms of matchups and venues, here’s the current schedule of FOX Sports 1′s newly-announced UFC broadcasts (via MMAMania):

Saturday, August 17th*
3:30 p.m. ET: UFC “Ultimate Insider”
4 p.m. ET: UFC “Unleashed”
5 p.m. ET: UFC “Tonight” (live)
6 p.m. ET: UFC on FS1 prelims (live)
8 p.m. ET: UFC on FS1 main card (live)

Wednesday, August 28th
8 p.m. ET: FOX UFC Wednesday (live)

Saturday, August 31st
8 p.m. ET: UFC 164 prelims (live)

Wednesday, September 4th
8 p.m. ET: FOX UFC Wednesday (live)
10 p.m. ET: The Ultimate Fighter: Rousey vs. Zingano season premiere

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Counterpoint: UFC 151′s Supporting Card Is Kind of Garbage-Ass, To Be Honest


(Two of the fighters featured on the UFC 151 pay-per-view broadcast. I *dare* you to identify them without using Wikipedia.)

Yeah, yeah, Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson is one of the greatest UFC main events of the year, and we all came buckets this morning when we watched the promo. These are incontrovertible facts — especially the part about the buckets.

But allow me to be a hater for just a moment, because it’s becoming clear that the UFC has lost an aspect of its promotional DNA that used to set it apart from boxing — namely, its habit of stacking each card with multiple fights and stars that fans were excited about. Here’s what UFC president Dana White told CNBC two years ago:

If you buy tickets and you fly to Las Vegas, I guarantee you’re going to see the best live sporting event ever. And if you buy it on Pay Per View, I promise you, you’re going to get a night of great fights. And the other thing that we do is, in boxing, they’ll only give you one main event. Nobody even shows up for the early fights. We stack a card with tons of great fights because I can’t, for me to sit here, I’d be a liar if I said, I’m guaranteeing you every fight’s going to be the best fight you’ve ever seen I can’t guarantee you that. But I can guarantee you, there’s going to be two, three or four that are going to blow you out of, you know, you’re going to be blown away. We stack the card big enough so that you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth.”

Since that interview, the UFC has inked a set of new broadcast partners, added three weight classes, and returned to certain international markets (i.e., Brazil, Japan), all of which has led them to increase their card-frequency to the point that some events are now completely non-essential, and others are only compelling for their main events. Those incredible “stacked cards” that we used to enjoy in 2008 and 2009 have officially gone extinct.

Which brings us to UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson (September 1st, Las Vegas). You probably know where this is going…

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