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The UFC: In Order to Rebuild It, We Must Destroy It

By CP Reader Scott Johnson 

I rented my first UFC event from the local Blockbuster video store back in 1999. I had seen many of the commercials advertising this No Holds Barred spectacle where “Two men enter, one man leaves”, and as a lifelong pro wrestling fan, I was interested to see this new entity. I paid $3.74 and went home with my VHS copy of UFC VI with visions of barbarism and gore dancing in my head, expecting to see nothing short of legalized murder.

What I got wasn’t far off. Immediately after seeing a portly bar brawler by the name of David L. “Tank” Abbott take eighteen seconds to knock a 400 lb. John Matua into a living death, I was hooked. I would go on to rent every single tape that I could get my hands on and started purchasing every PPV event I could (Ok, technically my girlfriend’s dad was unknowingly purchasing them but whatever…)

I mention this only to establish that I am not someone who is new to the UFC brand, nor am I what the hardcore fans would consider a “TUF Noob.” I was there when Frank Shamrock was ending hopelessly overmatched Russians in a matter of seconds. I was watching when Matt Hughes performed an unconscious powerbomb on Carlos Newton, beginning a reign of domination not yet seen in what would be referred to as the “New Era of Mixed Martial Arts.” I spent many of hours passionately defending the intricacies of Jiu Jitsu to my friends, who laughed and referred to talented fighters like Pat Miletich and Mikey Burnett as “a bunch of pantie grabbers.”

That being said, I want you to understand how much it pains me to make my next statement. As a loyal fan of the UFC, I must make the “Ultimate” sacrifice in order to help what I have loved so much for so long. I have to stop watching what has become one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

I have to stop watching UFC. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you…

The problems that currently plague the UFC have been well documented. Everything from shady drug testing practices to the embarrassing representation of the company stemming not only from its fan base but its key public figure in Dana White have taken its toll on the company and the sport as a whole. The promotion’s ever-depleting amount of star power (outside of Ronda Rousey), ever-increasing injury-plagued cards, and oversaturation of the market by holding a lackluster card every week?has tarnished?the reputation of this once great company.

It wasn’t so long ago that the UFC had seen an upward surge of momentum, which indicated that we were mere moments away from an era where it would be seen as one of the major sports leagues in the country. The Ultimate Fighter had convinced a large portion of the ever important demographic of males ages 18-35 to tune into the product. Brock Lesnar jumped from the WWE to the UFC to become the biggest draw the UFC had ever seen, headlining four of the top ten drawing Pay-Per-Views (including the #1 show, UFC 100) in the history of the company. FOX finally jumped on the UFC hype train in 2011, signing a seven year deal with the company. Everything was finally coming up Milhouse.

When looking at the company’s financial status today, however, it appears that the damage is finally starting to take its toll on the company. PPV numbers are in decline and the shows that are given away for free just aren’t drawing people to their television sets. Look at last weekend’s Fight Night 60, which inexplicably placed a fight between Dan Kelly and Patrick Walsh on the main card, resulting in one of the worst fights of the year. Look at this weekend’s Fight Night 61, the majority of which would be better placed on the undercard of a Bellator event. Look at UFC 184, a card so weak that it is arguably downgrading Ronda Rousey’s brand by forcing her to carry it. It’s 2015 and Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare is a thing that is happening.

So why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? It’s not like the evidence isn’t there, begging to be acknowledged by the powers that be. However, it seems that Dana white seems fit to make excuses for his terrible behavior by claiming that he knows better than the rest of us, much like the partner in an abusive relationship does when defending their behavior from last night’s dinner.

And much like the enabling partner in said relationship, we keeping coming back to that dinner table every night, hoping that one day the other will finally come to their senses. That if we just duck our heads and take our licks, our love and support for the promotion will finally shine through and convince them to make the changes necessary to heal the relationship.

But we all know that’s not how it works. If we as hardcore fans of the UFC want any real change to occur, we have to do what we hoped would never have to happen. We have to separate from the brand and stop supporting the behavior that has led us to where we are now. This is the only way that we can truly communicate to the UFC that enough is enough and it’s time for a change. We have to stop purchasing the pay per view events, no matter how bad we may want to see them or how well hyped the main event might be. We have to stop paying our monthly Fight Pass fees. We have to stop purchasing products from UFC sponsors. Most importantly, we need to contact said sponsors and let them know exactly why we won’t be buying their products no matter how bad our Dudes need Wiping.

Instead, we should spend the time and money that we would have normally invested elsewhere to continue to support MMA as a whole. Support the different MMA leagues around, be it your hometown group or one of the more known groups like World Series of Fighting or Bellator. Join an MMA gym and become one of the many hobbyists that populate the mats. Write an article for your favorite MMA blog who may be desperate for material allowing any blowhard to get posted (I’m looking at you, Cagepotato)

No matter how we decide to spend our extra time and money, it needs to not be anything that supports an organization who so willfully stares into the face of logic and reason and spits at it. As much as we all love MMA and its most widely known organization, the only way we will see any progress is if we stand up and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

So will you join me?! Probably not, but it’s something worth considering.

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