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Tag: UFC

Watching Royston Wee Will Set You Back $10, and Other Info About the UFC’s New Digital Network


(Subtlety was never the UFC’s strong suit…)

Remember that subscription-based, digital UFC network we talked about a couple weeks ago? You know, the one that promised cards full of unfit for television jobbers like Royston Wee?

Well, the UFC officially announced the price point: Access to the “UFC Fight Pass” will cost $9.99 a month.

What exactly does the monthly fee get you?

Access to international fight cards like UFC Fight Night 34, the UFC’s MMA fight library which includes fights from Pride, Strikeforce, and the WEC, as well as the UFC’s TV show archives (TUF, UFC Unleashed, etc.). Subscribers also get access to any original content the UFC is willing to put on the network, such as interviews, features, and whatever else.

It seems Alexander Hamilton carries a bit of respect at Zuffa, though initially the entire video library won’t be available. Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC’s Chief Content Officer, elaborated on this during the MMA Hour:

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The UFC’s Future More Uncertain Than Ever in the Wake of GSP’s Departure


(Photo via Getty)

The UFC can undergo a new renaissance or it can further fade into Toughman on FX-level obscurity—and it’s actions in the aftermath of GSP’s hiatus (and possible retirement) from MMA will determine which path the company takes.

GSP’s departure has come at a devastating time. The UFC is in a rut. TUF has long since stopped being the advertising vehicle/farm system it was years ago. Ratings are down. The worst part of all is that PPV—the UFC’s chief source of revenue—is lagging too. The culprit is a lack of stars, or rather the UFC’s apparent inability to replace the fading ones.

The UFC lost Chuck Liddell. The UFC lost Brock Lesnar. Rashad Evans, a good draw in his own right, is aging, as is the recently-toppled Anderson Silva. Ronda Rousey lost her luster and already put an expiration date on her career.

Now they’re short a Canadian superhero, a man who’s drawn an average of 800,000 buys over the last three years. And there are no young studs to pick up the slack. Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez are not fit to carry the company on their shoulders judging by the buyrates on their recent PPVs. The UFC’s young, great ethnic hopes—Tiequan Zhang, Erik Perez, and Erick Silva—haven’t developed as planned. Most importantly, the strategy of grooming Rory MacDonald to be GSP’s replacement has failed (or has at least been delayed).

The UFC’s future is still on the backs of aging warhorses whose knees are beginning to buckle.

Yet there is still hope.

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Five Obvious but Overlooked Things Fans Need to Remember About the UFC


(Just keep repeating to yourself, “Nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…”)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC has come under fire lately for several reasons: Declining numbers, oversaturation, the fading of their stars, launching a digital network with a questionable premise, not hiring Ben Askren and so on. When we fling insults at the UFC, we need to remember a few things about the company in order to put these negative occurrences and circumstances into perspective. Let’s start with the most obvious but frequently-ignored point:

1. The UFC is a business.

The purpose of the UFC is to make its owners money. The UFC does not exist to feed fighters’ families. There’s not much else to say on this front. Companies have to make money to be viable. Yeah, it sucks that some guys get paid an absurdly small amount of money for what they do, and it sucks that the UFC is upping the PPV price.

That’s just something we have to deal with though. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollar. If enough people tune out, Zuffa’s wallet will know and they’ll either change their tune accordingly or lose money.

2. The UFC is an international company.

There’s been talk about the UFC hiring unfit-for-television jobbers lately. It’s true but necessary. The UFC is headed to distant lands where MMA is in its most nascent stages. The talent pool in these places is more like a mud puddle. The UFC has to work with what it’s given in China and Singapore. Deepening foreign talent pools can only happen by growing the sport overseas, and growing the sport overseas can only happen when they have foreign (foreign to us, home grown to them) fighters on the card. And since there aren’t many great foreign fighters, the UFC has to scrape the bottom of a very empty barrel. This results in fighters getting a place in the “Super Bowl of MMA” who shouldn’t even be in the bleachers, let alone on the field.

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Six Things the UFC Can Learn from the WWE Going Into 2014


(On second thought, make that seven things. Photo via With Leather.)

By Seth Falvo

On paper, my timing couldn’t possibly be worse. Aside from the fact that there are dozens of “What the UFC can learn from the WWE” articles on the Internet, last week’s edition of Monday Night Raw – the company’s flagship television program – brought some of its worst viewership numbers of the past fifteen years. With this week’s edition competing against a Monday Night Football game between two teams still in playoff contention for the casual fans, it’s doubtful that those numbers improved by much.

So then why am I writing yet another article about what a company that sells choreographed “fights” experiencing some of its lowest viewership numbers can teach the UFC? Because the WWE’s idea of “terrible numbers” involves only averaging 3.53 million viewers. To put that into perspective, the TUF 18 Finale main card drew 1.129 million viewers. That’s right, the WWE is in panic mode because their weekly Monday night show only attracted three times as many viewers as a UFC event.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest that the UFC resort to ridiculous storylines, assigning character gimmicks to fighters, forcing celebrity guests into shows, forming an ill-advised partnership with a dying pro-wrestling promotion, or any of the other things that would make most MMA fans roll their eyes. Nor am I going to ignorantly blame the UFC for less than spectacular fights, controversial finishes, and other things that a legitimate sports league cannot possibly be expected to control. On the contrary, my first suggestion is something that the UFC actually used to do better than the WWE…

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Caros Fodor, And the Heroism of Companionship


(Photo via OneFC)

By Elias Cepeda

From the cage to the battlefield, some forms of bravery are easy to recognize. Then there are the daily acts of minor heroism, the kind that never get publicized. While everything Caros Fodor has accomplished in his career has made him worthy of respect, it’s his lifetime commitment to another fellow human being that makes him truly stand out as an unsung hero. Caros represents the heart and soul of MMA, and his story deserves to be heard.

*******

It had already been one of the more interesting work conversations I’d gotten to have with a fighter this year when I asked a last question as sort of an afterthought.

Seattle-based lightweight Caros Fodor was open in discussing his former life as a Marine with me. A Strikeforce/UFC vet who currently competes for OneFC, Fodor always wanted to be in the military, enlisted right out of high school and found himself in boot camp at just 17 years of age on September 11, 2001. From there, he was sent to Kuwait, and eventually Baghdad in the spring of 2003 as a part of the United States’ invasion of Iraq.

The realities of war — civilian casualties, cruelty to and destruction of the host nation, and bureaucratic banalities — changed Caros’ mind about wanting a career in the military. The carnage he’d taken part of also left him angry and suffering from PTSD when he returned home.

He had nightmares. He drank. The nightmares wouldn’t stop so he drank more. Caros and his friends went out most nights and started brawls.

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‘Fight Night 34: Saffiedine vs. Lim’ to Stream on UFC’s New *Subscription-Based* Digital Network at 6:30 a.m. [LOLWUT]


(Wake up, man! You paid $39.95 for access to these premo events!)

A quick show of hands: How many of you taters would wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday to catch Fight Night 34: Saffiedine vs. Ellenberger Lim? Of those of you who raised your hands, how many of you would be willing to *pay* for the right to view said card?

These are just two of the most baffling questions being posed by the UFC, who earlier today (sort of) unveiled a new, subscription-based digital network dedicated to streaming all of the international “Fight Night” cards too low-level to even merit a spot on the FS2 schedule. Said Lorenzo Fertitta:

The UFC has always been ahead of the game in the digital world. The UFC was the first major sporting organization to embrace social media and the first to offer live pay-per-view events across multiple digital platforms. The new digital network continues that tradition of innovation, bringing unrivaled choice to UFC fans. 

The UFC’s expansion into international markets, and the extended calendar of events, is certainly part of the reason it makes sense to launch the digital network in 2014. UFC fans are the most passionate fans in the world, and we want to ensure they can see every fight and every event no matter where in the world the octagon may be.

That’s right, kids! For the low, low price of money, you can access garbage-ass international cards featuring sub-UFC level fighters, instead of, you know, just continuing to stream those fights illegally! HOW CAN THIS STRATEGY POSSIBLY FAIL?

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CagePotato PSA: You Can Support Women’s MMA and Still Think a Women’s Fight Was Awful


(Roxanne Modafferi, cruising to another bantamweight title-defense in the Ultimate Friendship Championship. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

In women’s MMA, as in men’s MMA, there are great matches and there are not-so-great matches. Claiming a men’s fight is sub-optimal doesn’t carry a negative stigma. Sure, some “YOU’RE NOT A FIGHTER, BRO” types will get upset, but generally it’s OK to call out the poor aspects of a contest — whether it pertains to the booking or the in-cage action — when two males are fighting.

Making the same comments when women are in the cage changes things. We learned this the hard way on Twitter last night. You’re branded a WMMA hater when you say that every women’s fight on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale isn’t Bonnar vs. Griffin I with estrogen.

We don’t hate women’s MMA. CagePotato is a proud sponsor of Invicta strawweight Rose Namajunas, and we’ll be sponsoring Angela “Overkill” Hill for her XFC debut later this month. However, just because we love WMMA doesn’t mean we’re not going to criticize a fight just because it’s between two women.

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Several Days Removed from Heart Attack, Shane Del Rosario Still in Critical Condition but the Outlook is Grim


(Photo via Getty)

UFC heavyweight and Strikeforce vet Shane Del Rosario suffered two heart attacks on Tuesday, November 26th. Though Del Rosario has not passed away as some reported, the outlook is still grim—the 30 year old has no brain activity.

In case you don’t remember Del Rosario, he made his name in Strikeforce with a submission win over Lavar Johnson. He came up short against Stipe Miocic in his first UFC fight. He last appeared in the Octagon back in December 2012 in a losing effort against Pat Barry. He was expected to fight at UFC 168 but had to withdraw due to injury (a rib injury seemingly unrelated to his current predicament).

It’s tragic and highly atypical for such a young, athletic individual to suffer a heart attack. Del Rosario’s manager stated that the fighter’s doctors believed it was called by a condition called Long QT Syndrome—an exceedingly rare heart condition that can lead to death-inducing arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Unfortunately, it’s highly probable that Del Rosario will be taken off life support soon. At the time of writing, there have been no updates on this front. We will provide any news as it becomes available. The CagePotato staff is hopeful that it will be the good kind of news.

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Said Hatim, And The Virtue of Staying Ready


Said Hatim (center) cuts weight on a treadmill in Minsk, Belarus this week with student Andrei Arlovski (right) and coach Dino Costeas (left) | Photos via HatimStyle

By Elias Cepeda

MMA has come quite far in the past decade but very few fighters are featured on national television, sponsored by big companies and able to focus 100% of their energy on the sport. Many more put in the blood, sweat and tears without the bright lights or big bucks, filled with and fueled by love and an inexplicable drive to simply be a better fighter.

They hold down full-time jobs, have families and are known only to those truly in the know. They are the heart and soul of MMA.

Said Hatim is one such fighter.

The idea was initially proposed half-heartedly. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had recently booked his next fight — a main event contest on the Battle in Minsk card in his home of Belarus on Nov. 29 — and jokingly asked his Muay Thai coach Said Hatim if he also wanted to fight on the card.

Said was a pro kickboxer and boxer for years and has coached and trained with high level fighters like boxer Mike Mollo, UFC veteran Clay Guida, top Bellator featherweight Mike Corey and TUF veteran Mark Miller but his lone, albeit successful, MMA fight had taken place five years ago. Since that time, Hatim has focused on coaching and submission grappling tournaments.

Sure, he’d make the trip to Europe with Arlovski to be in his corner as he usually does, but Hatim was now 38 years old and half a decade removed from his last fight. “The Pitbull” was suggesting that Hatim add to his coaching responsibilities on fight night with his own contest against a much younger competitor. Said didn’t hesitate.

“Andrei told me that he was fighting in a main event November 29 and asked me, ‘Oh, do you want to fight too?,’” Hatim recounts to CagePotato.

“We were joking like that. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight.’”

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You Can Calm Down, The UFC Is Not Holding 54 Events Next Year


(Subtle.)

By Matt Saccaro

Earlier today, Ariel Helwani tweeted that there was going to be 54 UFC events in 2014, or at least that was the plan.

But there won’t be as many as 54 events, and it’s possible that many of the extra events won’t even be on television. Lorenzo Fertitta elucidated the UFC’s plans for 2014 in an interview with Ariel Helwani. Predictably, the UFC is focusing on international growth in 2014.

“We are looking at expanding our Fight Night product,” said Fertitta. “We have the bottom tier, we have the Ultimate Fighter which we’re taking around the world now. We have obviously the series on FOX Sports 1. We just got done filming The Ultimate Fighter: China which will air in January in China. We’ve got The Ultimate Fighter: Canada and Australia in production right now. We’re in pre-production for series in other various countries around the world. That’s our base,” he said. But TUF is only one piece of the global MMA puzzle. The more important piece, at least according to Fertitta, are the mid-level Fight Night cards.

“In the middle of the pyramid we have our UFC Fight Night brand,” he said. “We’re gonna take that Fight Night product and expand it into Europe and into Asia next year…We’re gonna add fights in those regions so when you add them on to the 33 we’d do this year, it gets into that 40-ish type number.”

Regarding the highly controversial number of 54, Fertitta claimed that he misspoke. He also teased about where the events would be televised (if anywhere).

“Is that what I said? 54? It won’t be quite that. I think I misspoke. It’ll be in the 40′s. Right now, we’ll have some news coming up on where they’re gonna air. I think we’re gonna have some ground-breaking ideas as far as where that’s gonna be available.”

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