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Ditching GSP/Bisping and McGregor/Mayweather is about UFC trying to regain control

By Zach Arnold | May 10, 2017

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On Wednesday night, Dana White proclaimed negotiations for a Georges St. Pierre/Michael Bisping fight to be finished (for now). He claimed that St. Pierre wouldn’t be ready to fight until November of 2017. Therefore, Yoel Romero will get his title match with Michael Bisping.

The bottom line is that the new UFC, managed by WME-IMG, cannot afford to be patient with matchmaking due to how much debt they have to pay back from buying the company for $4 billion dollars.

The impatience on display this week from Dana White does not match the strategy WME-IMG implemented at the beginning of 2017. They played along with Conor McGregor’s desires to book a fight with Floyd Mayweather. They’ve spent months playing the string on booking Georges St. Pierre vs. Michael Bisping. The new UFC’s strategy was transparently obvious. They were willing to put everything to the side in order to go for the instant home-runs to make as much cash in big chunks rather than grind out the regular matchmaking schedule.

White’s pronouncements this week of GSP/Bisping getting pushed to the back-burner and stalling talks between UFC, McGregor, and Mayweather signal his loudest attempt yet to try to grab control of UFC power to restore “normal” order.

If the new UFC had the willpower to do what was necessary to make Michael Bisping vs. GSP happen, the fight would be happening as promised. It’s not happening now. This has nothing to do with the desires of other fighters or fan wishes. From my perspective, this is about a much bigger story within WME-IMG and the power struggle to figure out the best course of action to address the massive level of debt they currently have on the books for their UFC purchase.

There will be spin about the new UFC giving Conor McGregor and GSP enough rope to hang themselves on getting the marquee fights they wanted. With Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin getting booked, there’s no doubt incentive for UFC to put the squeeze on McGregor to soften demands for negotiations. That’s the up front story. The bigger picture? This is about Dana White and the old UFC guard attempting to re-establish their power base while rebuking the speculative financial strategy of paying off debt with “hero booking.” The new UFC was abandoning the financial path that had gotten the old UFC to the point of being sold for $4 billion dollars. The old guard in UFC is trying to correct the course but damage has been done.

Fighters are learning a very valuable lesson that when it comes time for negotiations with the new UFC: their enormous debt obligations are the weak point that can be exploited. Dana White’s attempts to regain control of UFC by strong-arming everything into normal order runs counter to the strategy from new ownership motivated by financial interests & obligations on the calendar.

The new UFC has let fighters find their own voice. The old UFC would have never allowed this to occur. Can Dana put the genie back in the bottle?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “Ditching GSP/Bisping and McGregor/Mayweather is about UFC trying to regain control”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    The UFC has been going downhill since the new owners purchased the company. Getting rid of GSP from the title fight is the first good move in the right direction.

    The owners need to realize that the UFC has never been about chasing that 1 big fight. It has been about consistency on a monthly basis.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    This move also is going to make GSP look like a chicken. He never wanted to fight Silva at Middleweight. As soon as Bisping is champion he wants a title shot. And after Romero is champion there is no way GSP will accept that fight.

    GSP did it to himself. He proclaimed he was back and then refused to fight for months.

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      The whole GSP Bisping thing was a fraud to begin with. I’m not sure who started it but everyone at some point was talking out of their as$ regarding this potential fight.

      First off Bisping had major surgery on his knee in feb as I recall.
      Who fights 6 months after knee surgery?
      So it was obvious Bisping wouldn’t be ready for gsp in july. I predicted Sept-Oct if he wanted to be healed AND have a training camp. It also didnt make much sense since GSP v Silva is a much better looking fight AND Silva is ready to go in june, july, whenever…

      I know GSP was dangling the carrot in this one, Bisping and Dana were both salivating for gsps sweet root.

      I know that announcing the fight when nothing was even signed was Dana lying through his teeth again. He knew Bisping wouldn’t be fighting in July after knee surgery.
      So was it Dana sabotaging it from the beginning knowing Bisping wasn’t available?

      The only thing Bisping might be “possibly” fibbing about is his knee still being messed up when it may really be 100%. Thus lulling his opponent into a false sense of security.

  3. gman says:

    It’s one thing if you’re injured and can’t fight, and even then you should only get 15 months or so. If you can fight but don’t, because you’re trying to get paid more or pick your opponent, it should be the same thing as not adequately defending yourself in the Octagon. You lose, and not everybody likes it, but the division moves on. A new champ is crowned and when the stripped champ wakes up to reality they can challenge for the belt.

    How does Conor have the power to dictate his fights? He’ll sell big no matter who is on the other end. They’re losing money by not making him fight. If they’d been smart they would have stripped him of the FW title when he insisted on fighting Diaz again, and then threatened to strip him again when the Mayweather fight rumors started heating up.

    And then on the other hand, how do Bisping or Woodley have leverage either? They make the UFC a certain amount of money but not drastically more either way. As often as possible the better.

  4. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    UFC summer kick off… whats it called when the ball bounces back off your team into your in zone?

    UFC 213
    Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre CANCELLED
    Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson CANCELLED
    Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw CANCELLED

    …notice how the fat ufc reporter threw shade on Androstane Silva when asked Kelvin if he was upset Silva didnt take that fight? When everyone knows Kelvin was pulled for failing his drug test.

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