By Zach Arnold | February 1, 2013
Before I digress about UFC’s media battles that have taken place this week, I would be doing Scott Stern of the Las Vegas Fight Shop a disservice if I didn’t mention the autograph bonanza at his store this weekend. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, you have to check it out. Details here. He’s got a lot of big names in the MMA world signing autographs and meeting with fans. It’s a hell of an experience. Scott has always had a reputation of being a first-class professional and I can’t stress enough how well he takes care of his customers. I normally don’t promote things like this, but Scott’s worked really hard to make his store successful and he deserves credit for the job he has done.
One of the guests for the autograph bonanza will be Randy Couture, which is great timing considering that he reportedly just inked a deal with Spike TV to be a coach on Bellator’s new MMA reality series coming up. Will it be a success? Will Rampage show up to be a coach as well? Lots of possibilities. Do I think Bellator’s new show will draw eyeballs? Not as many as The Ultimate Fighter, but probably enough to where both Bellator and Spike will be happy. The expectations are lower for the #2 promotion and landing a name like Couture will give them some credibility amongst the casual fans.
The move led Dana White to go back to trashing Couture in the media again…
“I’m happy I never have to do business with Randy Couture again. He’s the furthest thing from Captain America.”
Which leads us to what is happening with The Ultimate Fighter and the ratings that the show is attracting on Tuesday nights. The first show drew 1.51 million viewers and episode two drew 1.27 million viewers. It’s better than last season, but that’s not saying much. The move from Friday nights to Tuesday nights naturally should increase viewership, but it doesn’t appear that the show is outperforming expectations at all.
As our friend MMA Supremacy puts it:
TUF Ep 2 drew 919K live & w/ same day DVR, it was 1.27M. It’s performing about the same as old Friday night slot for TUF 15 Live w/ additional costs & w/ Sonnen and Jones.
that 9PM timeslot averaged around 1.8M and FX expected “epic” ratings. DW predicted 3M viewers on FX move.
If the bickering between UFC/Fox and Bellator/Viacom isn’t enough, now there are two media developments that have the “MMA media” scrambling.
Over two years ago, UFC had put out a release touting a deal with Getty Images to distribute photos taken by UFC photographers. Now they’re ensuring the deal has more teeth by telling outlets to go to Getty for images, which means photographers like Tracy Lee are basically finished photographing UFC events for Yahoo.
To throw a bone to the MMA media and keep some sycophants in line, UFC has announced that they are creating their own Associated Press-style voting poll with MMA media members to rank fighters. Insert your own punchline here.
So, what will it take to get on the voting panel? Here’s a clue.
MMA Media Checklist: 1) Become friends w/ org staff 2) Accept Gifts 3) Become friends w/ fighters 4) Root for said friend fighters.
Tim Marchman nails what the UFC’s end game is here:
I ridicule UFC all the time, but any steps toward a public benchmark even as bad as an AP poll are crucial steps toward being a Real Sport.
Adam Martin sees an upcoming dilemma:
How can media members vote on the top 10 of the #UFC women’s bantamweight division when there aren’t even 10 fighters in the division?
Dana White, who still froths at the mouth when it comes to the name Josh Gross, will be relieved by this:
Truth be told, I wouldn’t vote if I could. Consider it a conflict of interest. Just me though. I’m a real stickler about that sort of stuff.
In a perfect world MMA media members would aspire less to having access and more to being honest about what they see, hear and think.
Instead, Adam Hill tells you what MMA media members are really worried about:
MMA media basketball game back on for tomorrow…..Commence the Twitter trash talk. Everybody tell @arielhelwani to stay out of the lane.
Some of the agents for MMA fighters are less than thrilled that these are the kinds of people ranking fighters and putting fighters in positions that can cost or make money. We know what will happen next.