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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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Is UFC 129 all about the size of the crowd or the actual fights?

By Zach Arnold | April 28, 2011

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It’s the big question being asked by media writers this week in Toronto and Steve Cofield & Kevin Iole of (Yahoo Sports) discussed the premise in this video clip. The most immediate, stark contrast between this event in Toronto and, say, UFC 100 in Las Vegas is the sheer amount of media covering the event in the GTA. Hint: It’s really, really large. It’s by far the biggest amount of media coverage ever for a North American MMA event and it’s not even close. Tom Wright has done a magnificent job so far for UFC’s Canadian operations.

(If you are looking for lots of video clips online covering UFC 129, check out The Score web site.)

Now, the obvious elephant in the room here is the UFC’s current media policy (i.e. the contracts they have American writers sign to cover events for access). Whatever side of that discussion you are on, what is clear here is that the UFC needs the media a lot more here to promote this Toronto event than they need the media to do the kind of business they pull off for big Stateside shows. As UFC increases their Canadian business, will Tom Wright be helpful in maintaining a more open, permanent media policy up North or will it start to morph into the situation currently at American events?

As for my personal answer in regards to whether or not UFC 129 is the ultimate triumph of UFC’s ‘brand-first, fighter-second’ philosophy… the answer is no. The answer is Georges St. Pierre. He’s the driver for this show, followed by the fact that this is Toronto’s first major MMA event. But to ponder whether or not this show is a triumph and some sort of revenge against a guy like Rampage Jackson who once said that he thinks UFC management is confident they could sell PPVs by putting two ‘symbols’ in a cage… try again.

Dana White’s stance on Nick Diaz boxing

He says it’s allowed in Diaz’s current Strikeforce deal… but… he plans on visiting the 209 after UFC 129 to… encourage Nick to make a wiser career choice. More on this later.

Mayhem Miller’s reason for not creating mayhem on Showtime

This MMA Weekly report illustrates the absurdity of Showtime (and CBS by extension). The report claims that after the infamous Nashville brawl on CBS that Mayhem was ‘banned’ from ever fighting on Showtime or CBS television again. Their reported reason, according to Kevin Iole, is that Mayhem was not credentialed to be in the cage at the time while Nick Diaz apparently was. The fact that Mayhem was slotted as a ‘no TV’ fighter after that brawl… Suffice to say, he won’t have that problem now fighting under the UFC banner.

Topics: Canada, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “Is UFC 129 all about the size of the crowd or the actual fights?”

  1. Kelvin Hunt says:

    Oh..this event is all about the size of the crowd…look..Couture, Hominick, and Shields are not huge underdogs for nothing…while the fights could be entertaining…they could be one-sided beatdowns as well…BUT..if there are spectacular finishes..I suppose it’ll be hailed as the GOAT of events or something.

    I’m certainly interested in seeing/hearing what 55,000 Canadians will be like on TV…I’m also thrilled that all of the fights will be available LIVE.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    1) UFC 129 is already a success before the first fight. That’s amazing. And it’s a COMBINATION of the UFC, GSP, & Canada. The UFC name gets them 250,000 PPV Buys and a $1 to $2 Million PPV Gate. The rest is a combo of GSP and Canada. It would be no different if the UFC had some huge star that was Mexican or from Texas…. And they had a huge show at Cowboy Stadium… Each part would add to the event.

    2) This is one of those events where the betting lines don’t tell the entire story. Of the 3 main fights, all 3 of the underdogs are very live underdogs. All have the potential for the upset.

    3) I love how Dana White isn’t playing Nick Diaz’s game. He’s not publicly making an issue out of it. Sort of takes a lot of the luster off of Diaz actually going to boxing. And I think deep down Dana white knows Diaz is just talk….

    4) I’m not sure how Mayhem’s contract was set up…. But if the guy still had fights on his contract and they weren’t giving them to him…. That is wrong on Showtime’s part. Either can the guy or have him fight. Either way, it’s a non-issue now. But it does add more fuel to the UFC’s fire not to have 2 seperate brands. Why would they want somebody locked up on Showtime, when those executives have the power to just lock the fighter out? That causes too many headaches.

    5) Female Cyborg’s next fight is likely not to be in Strikeforce. I wonder how much the people at the UFC want to see Gina Carano get beat up 2 or 3 times, lose interest in MMA…. And then it will be a much easier way to just get rid of female MMA. As long as Carano has some star power…. It makes it harder….

    • Kelvin Hunt says:

      “This is one of those events where the betting lines don’t tell the entire story. Of the 3 main fights, all 3 of the underdogs are very live underdogs. All have the potential for the upset.”

      ehh…I give all three underdogs about a 10% chance of winning.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        10% chance? Really?

        A guy who hasn’t lost in 5 years and has beaten Condit, Henderson, Daley, Kampmann, Miller, & Lawler only has a 10% chance?

        A guy who is the king of winning big fights when he is the underdog…. And it fighting a guy with 2 straight losses only has a 10% chance?

        A guy who potentially has the right striking style to match up perfectly with the champion only has a 10% chance of winning?

        I think each fighter who is favored should be. But to say the underdogs only have a 10% chance of winning is absurd.

        • Light23 says:

          Welcome to internet MMA fans. Any fighter who puts on a great performance instantly becomes unbeatable, with all his future fights becoming uninteresting because he’s a guaranteed lock to win.

          The second they lose, they suck, they’re awful, they’re done.

        • edub says:

          Yes Jake SHields only has a 10 % chance. Everything Jake Shields does in MMA, GSP does better.

          Hominick has a better chance because of the striking, Aldo’s layoff. But he’s only around 25 or 30% if you look at their skill sets and how they have boded on the big stages.

          Randy Couture is a ver LIVE underdog. This is the king of gameplanning, who exceeds at pressuring fighters who do not like to be pressured. He’s stronger than Machida, the better wrestler, and probably the better grappler. Machida is the favorite, and rightly so, but to right off the Captain is for one thing BLASPHEMY! And short sighted because Randy has made a living out of doing exactly this, beating guys he wasn’t supposed too. Couture’s career is defined by the upset. We shouldn’t be surprised if he leaves the game on a domination of Lyoto Machida.

    • Chromium says:

      “I wonder how much the people at the UFC want to see Gina Carano get beat up 2 or 3 times, lose interest in MMA…. And then it will be a much easier way to just get rid of female MMA. As long as Carano has some star power…. It makes it harder….”

      You mean as long as Carano can make [Zuffa] good money as a draw, it makes it harder to get rid of her, and this is a situation they don’t want? Are you serious?

      I know some fans fantasize about women’s MMA disappearing forever and ever, but please try not to be delusional with your reasoning.

  3. Kelvin Hunt says:

    So you are telling me that if these underdogs fought their opponents ten times….they’d win more than once? Okkkkk…

    Look..Shields lost the Kampmann fight…yea he had to cut weight from fighting at MW..I give him a pass there..but whatever..Henderson as a MW has historically underperformed(I did pick Hendo to win that one though)…none of those guys are close to bringing the tools GSP brings collectively..

    Couture has been taking gimme fights his last two fights…Machida has been fighting guys top 5 and arguably beat Rampage…come on now…I will say that if any underdog wins it’s Couture…but he’d have to fight a almost perfect fight.

    I have a hard time believing that Hominick is going to outstrike Aldo for 25 mins…or avoid getting taken down and submitted.

    You been watching too many countdown shows 45…lol…

    • IceMuncher says:

      If you really truly think there’s only a 10% chance of an upset, you should be making a killing at the sports books this weekend. Machida, Aldo, and GSP are only 3-1, 5-1, and 3-1 favorites, respectively. That’s a very heavy edge in your favor.

      • Nepal says:

        Statistically it’s not that great a bet(s). As you increase the number of bets, your chances of losing one increase. Given the lower “win” purse due to betting on the favorite, it becomes less attractive.

        • Kelvin says:

          Yea…those fights were really close *sarcasm…and those fights would go like that every time…pfft. Was a good show though.

  4. PL Allie says:

    UFC deserve a lot of praise. They could have put only GSP-Shields but they made sure The event was stacked with interesting fight.

    Menjivar is going to steal the show.

  5. chris says:

    This show is a representation of the UFC brand, first. Them knowing their popularity and fan base based off their equations, and web statistics etc in theirmarket place as Dana has said in regards to how they pick new cities to go to first, etc.

    The card from top to bottom is nothing more than a good UFC event. Anyone claiming Aldo/Homnick is a legitmain event is laughable. Aldo wasn’t a draw for the WEC, and for anyone to think he’s bringing MORE eyeballs to this show is foolish. What isn’t foolish is that the UFC is treating ALL their titles with high regard,(Fancy feet vs. Butt chin Faber headlining the July 4 weekend PPV is another example of this) because in a few title defenses, the 145 and 135 pound titles will be held with fan fare and regard from casual viewers. Right now, they are just fancy unearned paperweights.

    But, the Toronto show is a good UFC event, Couture and GSP leading the media for the event, Randy hasn’t been the PPV draw he once was, while GSP still is.If it wasn’t for GSP on this show, being in Canada, etc. They wouldn’t have sold 55k so quick if at all. The undercard and prelims are nothing to brag about, this show isn’t UFC100 on paper and at the end of the day, it’s the power of the UFC brand and a lot of chips falling into place at the right time that has made this event a reality not a card of which is far from loaded. But it should provide a few dazzling moments, hopefully…. or perhaps 40 rounds of of decision and stalling in an 11 million dollar gate disappointment.

    p.s. I’m expecting some mega huge fight night bonuses…. 250k per bonus anyone?

  6. Mr. Roadblock says:

    I think it’s fair to say the hype about this show is due to crowd size more than the lineup.

    I think Hominick/Aldo is the best fight on the card and should be explosive. I also think Hominick has the best shot to pull off an upset. I actually think he will win.

    GSP/Shields does nothing for me. This show would be a lot more exciting to me if it were the Silva/GSP superfight in front of 55,000 people.

    This is just a random UFC event in a market that has been starved for a show and has a big stadium.


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