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By Zach Arnold | July 9, 2014
Before all the cool kids talked about the idea of UFC oversaturating the market with events to flood out the competition, Judge Jeff and I talked about this strategy in 2009 on Fight Opinion Radio and what’s interesting is that UFC is oversaturating the market but it is not killing interest in MMA as a whole but rather interest in UFC itself for non-major events. If Bellator can do OK numbers on PPV with Rampage Jackson, they still have a chance to be a viable alternative to the McDonaldsification that UFC is going through right now.
It’s no surprise that the UFC had to cancel their August 2nd event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Ronda Rousey wasn’t going to save that show. The reality is that UFC booked three California B-level MMA events within a timespan of two months. The three TV tax checks to Andy Foster would have given him $105,000 in revenue. Given that he was allegedly UFC’s favorite guy to get the Nevada State Athletic Commission job and instead bombed the interview, it’s my opinion that the UFC obviously wanted to bring some activity back to California for Andy. The problem is that UFC cannot get any of their A-listers to work the California shows at this point, so the gates aren’t what they are in other states. And running Sacramento without Urijah Faber is utterly preposterous. Something had to give and the Staples Center show had to go. Going from Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie to Brandon Vera vs. Mauricio Shogun to Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes isn’t going to cut it at that venue.
Which brings us to Lorenzo Fertitta appearing on Fox Sports 1 for damage control. The fact that he’s having to feel the need to address the oversaturation issue means that the concern is very mainstream now. The genie is out of the bottle.
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “What happened to force the company into this decision?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “You know, it was a very difficult to make and part of the reason that we decided to postpone it is because Jose Aldo’s injury is a neck/shoulder injury, which he’s saying he’s not going to be able to train for only three weeks. So, it was a situation where certainly he wouldn’t be ready for August 2nd but at the same time he’s not going to be out very long. So, it’s going to allow us to essentially postpone this and reschedule this event for sometime in the early to mid Fall, probably in October. We just felt like that made the most sense. In addition to that, you know, obviously on PPV events there’s typically championship bout(s) on that card. Quite frankly right now, there was nobody that could turn around quick enough to be able to fill the August 2nd slot.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “So you mentioned in the Fall. Do you have a definitive date in October?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “We are working on that right now. We don’t have a definitive date yet. We do have a date set for PPV on October 27th but we haven’t decided whether or not that Jose would fall on that date or not.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Will this still be held in Los Angeles?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “No, unfortunately it won’t. That’s one of the big negatives. I know that we’re excited to go back to Staples Center. One of the issues, though, is Staples Center is probably one of the hardest arenas to book in the country because they’re so busy and by that time of the year, obviously, the professsional sports teams they have start to roll around. So, we will certainly work with them to try to find another date. But we’re not real confident that we’ll be able to accomodate that.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Do you have another location in mind?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “Right now, we have a date scheduled in Rio de Janeiro for October 27th and we’re looking at a couple of other locations for earlier in October as well to see what’s available.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “So, will we ever see UFC 176 or will the number be scratched completely?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “UFC 176 will probably become a question on Jeopardy at some point as the event that never happened.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Fair enough. We know obviously that fighters earn their pay on fight night. So, what happens to the rest of the fighters on this card?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “The balance of the fight card will be dispersed amongst the various fights that we have coming up on Fox Sports 1 and/or Fox and we’re going to try to get them fights as quickly as they can because obviously we want to keep them busy and keep them active.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “If Aldo isn’t available, then who do you put on the card?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “That’s a good question, you know, we’ve got some other great contenders in Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson that certainly could step up and vie for some type of an interim title. We’re going to know more in about two weeks. Aldo was told by his doctors to not do anything for three weeks. We’re about one week into that. We’re going to regroup in two weeks and, you know, if Aldo’s not going to be able to ready to go by October, then we’re going to have to sit down and see if we do an interim title and if that’s the case, you know, like I said before I mean the good thing is that we have a lot of really, really good contenders in that weight class that could challenge Chad Mendes for an interim title.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “Well, Lorenzo, as you’re well aware, Aldo was forced off of two other UFC cards due to injury. Does he need to do anything to tone down his training or how do you prevent this in the future?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “Yeah, I mean, you know unfortunately sometimes you know guys just get nicks and get hurt. I think the good news is it doesn’t sound like a real serious injury to the extent that he’s going to be out for a really long time. I think if he lays off of it and obviously is very careful in his training, we’re hopeful that he’s going to be able to turn right around in October and that’s why we made this decision. But, of course, you know it’s something that all the fighters need to pay close attention to is making sure that they’re very careful with what they’re doing in training.”
CHARISSA THOMPSON: “What do you say when people ask you the question is this a sign of too many fights?”
LORENZO FERTITTA: “You know what? Um, I don’t think so. I think, you know, sometimes these come-and-go, a kind of ebb-and-flow. Last year, we went through the entire year and I don’t think we had to replace one card. You know, this year unfortunately this happened and overall at the end of the day, um, we have all of these guys coming back and I think the Fall for us, the line-up in the Fall is going to be pretty strong as all of our champions are coming back and we’ve got some loaded cards on Fox Sports 1 as well. So, we’re excited about moving forward from here.”