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Tag: UFC

The UFC Can Learn a Lesson From Bellator: How to Promote Bad Fights


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC said “Hey, did you hear there’s UFC FIGHTS™ on tonight? The finest athletes in the world are facing off and it’ll be action packed. Watch it!”

So we took their word for it, and watched. The athletes faced off, but they weren’t the finest in the world, and it wasn’t action packed. The athletes were green, regional-caliber competitors and there was more labored breathing and bouts of stalling than action.

Then the next event came. “It’s FIGHT WEEEEEEK! UFC FIGHTS™ are on again. The finest athletes in the world are doing battle in the Octagon™. Be sure to watch!”

We were skeptical, but being loyal MMA fans, we watched again. We were let down again. We voiced our concerns, only to be told we weren’t Real Fans if we didn’t appreciate the fights the UFC gave us. Not wanting to lose our MMA streed cred, we watched the next event that promised the top 1% of fighters battling in the Superbowl of MMA only to be disappointed.

This is what being an MMA fan has been like for the past year or two–especially since the UFC went full “World Fucking Domination” on us.

Fight cards are tougher to sit through because the talent levels are lower. Sometimes there’s two of these regional-level, star-sparse cards on the same day! And I’m not ragging on UFC Fight Night 42 specifically; on paper the card was pretty decent for a free Fight Night Card. I’m referring to the general lowering of the bar in terms of card quality that’s become undeniable as of late. The most insulting part is all these events are, for the most part, marketed the same way: Here’s awesome UFC Fights. They’ll be good. Watch them or you’re not an MMA fan.

And judging by the decline in interest (and PPV buys), lots of viewers decided they weren’t fans. And I’m not going to go on for much longer because I’ve written about the issue of over-saturation extensively on CagePotato, but the UFC can learn an important lesson from Bellator regarding how it promotes less-than-stellar fights: Be honest.

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Watch the Pilot Episode of Luke Cummo’s Web Series “Dino & Digger”

Luke Cummo, former UFC fighter and passionate advocate against MMA, has returned to YouTube.

You might recall that last Cummo was in the MMA headlines, he was making crazy videos of himself chanting “Uh huh, Optimus. Uh huh, Optimus” over and over again as if he were trying to summon the Autobot into this world. Then the videos took a darker turn as the police started pursuing him for allegedly ditching court and sending his wife threatening emails.

All that nastiness seems to be over now, however. Cummo is back to making head-scratching videos. A perfect example: The above video, a pilot episode of a series seemingly invented by Cummo. It stars a dinosaur named “Mega” and a bulldozer/transformer named “Z-tech.” The duo protects future world leaders kind of like how the Terminator protects John Connor on Terminator 2.

Check out another episode of the show and another wild video after the jump.

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Monday Night Wars Alert: UFC and Bellator to Go Head-to-Head in September


(Photo via Getty)

The UFC will be heading to Connecticut on September 5th. The card will air on FS1. Normally we wouldn’t cover such a banal, uninteresting announcement, but something makes it very special: September 5th also marks the date of Bellator’s season 11 debut, and it’s also being held in Connecticut to boot—a mere 10 miles away.

To say this is a big deal is an understatement. Perhaps Bellator’s rumored 100k PPV buys for Bellator 120 turned the UFC’s head, and now they view the promotion as a threat? And what about ratings? Will Bellator and SpikeTV be able to out-draw the UFC and FOX Sports 1?

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UFC 173 vs. Bellator 120: Which Did More Web Traffic?

By Matt Saccaro

Despite the UFC’s legal team being among CagePotato’s most avid readers, we can’t convince them to give us any insights into the UFC’s PPV business. We can only judge a card’s interest by the PPV estimates that circulate a few weeks after an event has passed.

There’s another way to judge fans’ interest in a particular fight card though: Web traffic.

In between discussions about which IFL team was the best (I’m a huge Quad City Silverbacks fan), we at CagePotato headquarters started opining about how Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo would compare to a low-level UFC PPV. Some of us said it’d bury an event like UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw in terms of traffic, some of us said it would get buried.

Now that fight week(end) is over, we can jump into AnalyticsPotato mode and see which fight card wowed the web more. And to be clear, I’m using unique page views as the primary metric to judge interest. And by “coverage” we mean articles before/during/after the card that are about the card. Seems obvious but it’s important to be clear.

Earlier in the week, we reported on the CagePotato twitter that Bellator 120 received about 34% more traffic, but that calculation was made in error. There were a couple of articles in our UFC 173 coverage that I forgot to include in the tally. However, even with these pieces added, Bellator 120 still wins out. Bellator 120′s coverage, on the whole, received 11% more traffic than UFC 173′s.

Other random insights:

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Will UFC 173 Force the UFC to Learn Its Lesson About Promoting Fighters?


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Regarding Renan Barao and the bantamweight division, the UFC had a promotion problem. Barao was one of the sport’s greatest fighters, yet he couldn’t fill a bar showing the PPV if they gave away free food and free beer.

Fans didn’t care about Barao, and there was nothing the UFC could do to change that. While Barao’s inability to speak English, rugged good looks, and total apathy regarding the salesman part of being a prize fighter certainly didn’t make promoting him easy, building Barao was still the UFC’s job. And they continuously failed.

MMA Junkie’s Ben Fowlkes analyzed this issue in the days before UFC 173 [Editor's note: Hilariously, Dana White grilled Fowlkes for the article but admitted to not reading it...]:

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Is Gina Carano Training at Black House?


(via r/MMA)

This picture of Gina Carano has been making its rounds on the Internet this weekend. As you can see, it depicts Gina Carano either pre-workout or post-workout holding a Black House t-shirt within a Black House gym.

Carano, herself, hasn’t announced anything. It’s entirely possible that she’s just visiting the gym. If that’s the case, this photo will no doubt lead to tons of errant speculation.

However, it’s possible that Carano is starting to get back into fighting shape. After all, UFC president Dana White said that Carano in the UFC was simply “a matter of getting a deal done.” But Dana is known to be among MMA’s greatest prevaricators, so we won’t put too much stock in what he says.

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The Moral Weight of Being an MMA Fan


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Watching MMA comes at a cost. Not $60 for a PPV. Not $10 every month for Fight Pass. Not even the hours you spend watching low-level fighters on prelims learn their craft so you can watch the main card. No, being a fan of this sport comes at a human cost. Real people are putting their permanent health on the line for…money? A pittance? For our entertainment? For the tired notion of glory?

Each fighter has their own motivation for stepping into the cage, but most fans generally watch MMA for the entertainment value; if something about MMA didn’t entertain or excite them, they wouldn’t watch.

And how can MMA fans be blamed? The kernel of Dana White‘s blowhard persuasions about fighting being “in our blood” is true. The highest level of MMA transcends “sport” as we’re used to it. There are no overweight outfielders scratching their balls between innings. There are no fines for wearing your socks the wrong height or for excessive celebration. MMA, at its best, is a phantasmagoric display of violence juxtaposed with art. It’s raw. It’s visceral. It’s a grotesque, screeching cacophony of carnage that unfolds into a single, unparalleled and strangely soothing melody. There is nothing on earth like (good) MMA. Nothing.

This is why Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva was so spectacular. As MMAFighting’s Chuck Mindenhall noted, UFC Fight Night 40′s main event reminded us why we watch MMA in a time when lackluster card after lackluster card had us questioning our fandom.

But Sunday mornings are always sober; the high has worn off. The consequences of combat are the violence junkie’s hangover.

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UFC Fight Night 40 Results: Matt Brown TKOs Erick Silva in Instant Classic and Other Highlights


(Matt Brown about to do the Captain Morgan pose on Erick Silva. / Photo via Getty)

Matt. F*cking. Brown.

No, really. Matt Brown. If you didn’t see his main-event fight against Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 40, you have to. You owe it to yourself. Our words can’t really do it justice suffice it to say it was pure violence. The first round saw Silva nearly score a liver-shot KO over Brown and then submit him with a rear naked choke. But after Brown escaped the choke, he managed to reverse his fortunes. He landed some combinations that would put down a horse, but somehow Silva survived the beating throughout the latter half of the first round and the entirety of the second. Finally, in the third frame, Silva succumbed to the force of nature that was Brown. This fight was a breath of fresh, bloody air when MMA needed one.

In the co-main event, Constantinos Philippou defeated Lorenz Larkin via knockout, but not just any kind of knockout. It was a faceplant KO. Here’s the GIF. The end result of the fight doesn’t convey how competitive it was though. Both fighters had one another in danger until Larkin’s lights went off.

After the jump: Something worse than Beatus the Robot and the fight card’s complete results.

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This Chuck Liddell Costume Is Crazier Than Beatus the Robot


(Via Twitter)

The UFC’s twitter account sent out this picture of a horrifying Chuck Liddell cosplayer during UFC Fight Night 40.

If you ask us, we think the abs on the costume don’t do Chuck’s legendary beer belly justice.

And here’s an alternate photo in case you’re still not terrified:

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The Unsupportable Opinion: Screw It, Bring Tim Sylvia Back to the UFC


(Image courtesy of Sherdog.)

By Seth Falvo

Yeah, I know we’ve written otherwise around these parts. I understand that he hasn’t won a fight since defeating a thirty-eight year old journeyman sporting a 13-11 record back in 2012, that he probably can’t make 265 pounds without amputating something, and that he’s been a subject of scorn during pretty much every CagePotato Roundtable we’ve published. I secretly realize that there isn’t a single thing that Tim Sylvia has done within the past two years to justify bringing him back to the world’s premier MMA organization.

But there’s something remarkably hypocritical about acknowledging that the UFC is a sports entertainment company, then crying foul when one of the biggest stars of the mid-to-late 2000s is offered that final fight in the UFC he’s been so desperately seeking, so let’s not do that.

Instead of focusing so heavily on the sports, let’s actually focus on the entertainment that Tim Sylvia has provided us over the years. Personally, I was still in high school during the Tim Sylvia Era. A friend had exposed me to his collection of UFC events, and I immediately became hooked. I won’t claim that I was the biggest fan of the then-heavyweight champion — even with my limited knowledge of MMA, I realized Sylvia was an unrefined fighter — but there was something inspiring about watching him compete. “The Maine-iac” managed to achieve the highest honor in his sport, despite being the last person on the planet who most people would look at and think “professional athlete.” And of course, his rivalry with Andrei Arlovski helped make things interesting, even when his fights occasionally weren’t.

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