By Zach Arnold | August 14, 2013
“I know a lot of fans are hating on this fight (with Tito) but when the fight actually happens, they’re going to feel like the dumbest people because I know for a fact that Tito’s going to bring it. I know he is. … Listen, it don’t bother me. I just block them (on Twitter) and I laugh. These guys are idiots. They’re sheep. You know what I’m saying? They’re sheep. What I mean by sheep is they don’t think for themselves. THey’re sheep. They’re MMA sheep.” — Rampage Jackson in interview with FighthubTV.com
It’s been a rough go of things for Bellator lately. They need a successful PPV showing on November 2nd. Running a show like this during the college football season is challenging. At least they’ll have Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler as the semi-main event fight. However, Bellator is ending women’s MMA and releasing their female fighters from existing contracts. And, on top of everything, Bellator’s allegedly onerous fighter contracts just got one more contractual clause called the “champion replacement clause” and the formula is as confusing as hell to comprehend. This is one of those moments where Rob Maysey of MMAFA would love to see the Ali Act applied to MMA.
As if that isn’t enough, Fight Master ratings are collapsing faster than a Florida sinkhole and Spike TV’s only prescription for saving the show’s ratings is to move the final airings to Thursday nights at 11 PM in hopes of getting a strong lead-in from TNA pro-wrestling. Before this news broke, I wrote a column about the marriage between TNA & Bellator getting stronger because Spike/Viacom thinks that the wrestling tie-in is the only way to save their investment in Bellator. It’s a great twist of irony — Bellator’s failures are worse than TNA’s failures, therefore TNA’s failures will continue to be financially rewarded (Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff must be delighted) because Viacom sees TNA as Bellator’s lifeline. I don’t know how we got to this point but we have. Read the linked article for more about the absurdity of the entire situation on behalf of all parties involved.
Will UFC’s slate of August fight cards prove to be feast or famine?
Want to know one great reason why UFC is considered valuable in the world of Fox Sports?
Why Fox Sports loves UFC. RT @TVSportsRTGS From 6a-2p yesterday, no Fuel telecast had more than 1000 viewers
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) August 14, 2013
I guess the Hooters pageants with Kenny Florian & Chael Sonnen as hosts aren’t exactly attracting a lot of eyeballs?
UFC’s event this weekend in Boston with Chael Sonnen (3-to-2 favorite over Mauricio Shogun) will apparently have 11,000 fans in the building. The only question is how many tickets will be sold versus comped. On paper, sounds like a relatively decent gate. However, comments made by Dana White recently about his frustrations of putting on a UFC show in Boston given the Massachusetts commission wanting Social Security Numbers for foreign fighters and the whole licensing issue with Sonnen cane across as … curious. The Culinary Union and other political groups asked for the commission to not license Sonnen but the commission did anyways and wouldn’t let the groups speak publicly at a hearing.
While the letter CU sent to the commission was well-written in citing case law, the reality is that Sonnen was going to get licensed no matter how many letter-writing campaigns there were. So, given the solid Boston gate, why would UFC care so much about a letter-writing campaign? Because the tactics of the Union are working to a degree — maybe not so much in terms of a direct impact but most certainly in terms of getting under the skin of the Fertitta Empire. They hate anyone that puts up a fight or challenges them, no matter how big or small you are.
Don’t believe me? Tim Marchman at Deadspin posted the MMA media article of articles this week regarding 8 things you shouldn’t do to piss off the UFC if you’re a writer.
Here's a look inside the sausage factory for anyone curious about why fights get covered the way they do: http://t.co/Vu9Adyvcnm
— Tim Marchman (@timmarchman) August 12, 2013
Don’t talk about UFC financials or fighter pay. Don’t break news without two sources. Don’t report anything from fight agents/managers. Don’t speak on behalf of a fighter. Don’t mention Dana White’s mother. Don’t write anything negative about Zuffa unless you use the word ‘opinion.’ You can’t be “too negative.” And, finally, every writer is being watched like a hawk. No wonder nobody ever writes about a Fertitta corporate board member being a member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s steroids & drug testing panel.
What’s definitely legitimate to write articles on is the upcoming challenges that Fox Sports will have in launching the FS1 & FS2 channels.
The launch of FS1 and FS2 have the feel of a frenzied cleanup by a teenager who partied all weekend and whose parents are coming home early
— bkoo (@bkoo) August 14, 2013
Dana says that he’s not worried about Fox Sports getting a deal with the major satellite/cable providers done in time for Saturday’s launch. He may find out that not everybody is going to have a chance to watch the Boston fight. Fox Sports needs the UFC right now, which is why the spin from Los Angeles about UFC’s ratings has been so rosy.