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Another dose of reality for The Ultimate Fighter; dos Santos a 70% favorite over Carwin in Vegas

By Zach Arnold | May 13, 2011

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So, yesterday an alert was sent out to various members of the MMA media that the UFC deems fit to be kept in the loop on conference call notices. (And here I thought I would be on their list since I’ve been on their payroll all these years.) Nevertheless, an emergency conference call was issued by Zuffa and the call started out like this from Dana White.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t a good call. It’s a bad call. Former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has diverticulitis again. He spent all day yesterday over at The Mayo Clinic, has gone through a bumper-to-bumper I guess we’ll call it of tests and, uh, you know, this thing acted up on him again. He’s got some serious, uh… choices to make in the next couple of weeks whether to fight this thing or to take, uh, the surgery.”

At that point, you had to be thinking a million different things. Is Brock’s illness career-threatening? Is he backing out because ratings have tanked so far for this season of The Ultimate Fighter?

You should have been on Twitter & Facebook yesterday. The venom spewed towards Brock Lesnar once this news broke was unreal. You can never mix up an online reaction with the reaction of mainstream fans, but the online reaction was so anti-Lesnar that one could have mistaken him for being some sort of terrorist. Tons of cracks about diarrhea, steroids, cowardice, and ‘he’s taking his ball and going back to pro-wrestling’ were flying by the second. There were definitely some fans who showed support for Brock in terms of wanting to see him recover and get back into good health, but the majority of the online response was really harsh.

On the Thursday conference call, Brock answered all questions thrown at him and went out of his way to be open about the situation.

“I’ve been dealing with some symptoms for the last, I would say, three months. I felt a little bit while I was filming The Ultimate Fighter and the only way to treat the symptoms is by getting on antibiotics and allowing the antibiotics to take its course and to fight the infection and during the course of this training camp, I felt another infection, got another CT scan done on my stomach where there was visible inflammation.

“What it does to you, it didn’t allow me to train to my full capabilities and I was forced to make a decsion to go back down to the doctor this week to figure out how far this thing’s along and what it does is it drains my entire body down. Basically you’ve got an infection in your stomach and all my resources went to fight this problem instead of rebuilding what I tore down in the gym so it’s not as serious as last time. It just didn’t allow me to train the way I needed to train for a #1 contender’s bout. I am forced with the decision to either have surgery or do deal with this for the rest of my life, so obviously I’m fighting a different fight here, you know, than having to give up the fight on June 11th so a lot of things go through your mind as an athlete, especially myself, you know. This is something that has been wearing on me for about a month now and different thoughts come to your mind.”

He proceeded to say it wouldn’t be fair to himself, Junior, or Spike TV to keep going with the scheduled June 11th bout in Vancouver if he was sick. For fans of The Ultimate Fighter, it was the third ‘blown payoff’ that the show has recently produced. Facing a dwindling audience base for the television program, UFC has every right to be concerned.

Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz were going to have another grudge match. Tito ended up pulling out due to surgery needed. The payoff was killed. Rich Franklin replaced Tito as coach. He then fought Chuck in Vancouver and put Liddell into retirement. If you are a Chuck Liddell fan, that was the worst kind of punch to the gut you could possibly get.

Rampage Jackson, Kimbo Slice, and Rashad Evans had their triangle (sort of speaking) which produced the big ratings you expected it to. The payoff would be the two coaches fighting in Memphis (Rampage’s stomping grounds). He blew that off to go film the A-Team Movie. The payoff was delivered months later and did great business. The fight itself was nothing to brag about and there was plenty of online chatter about the fight in regards to whether it should have been a five round contest (or not). As for Rampage’s movie career, not so much movement after the A-Team project. A year later, he’s a ‘cold’ act and stuck headlining a UFC 130 PPV that has little fan interest.

And now we have Brock Lesnar having to cancel his booking against Junior dos Santos. A lot of truths were revealed once the series started airing on Spike TV. The first truth is that too many people hate Brock Lesnar to want to accept him for who he is. They want Brock Lesnar: The Character, not Brock Lesnar: The Person. Second, Junior dos Santos is not a mainstream star and UFC should be concerned about whether or not he can attract casual fans. Building upon that, the third truth is that UFC needs to hope that mainstream fans will buy JDS as a credible top heavyweight. I cannot get over the fact that 83% of ESPN viewers said Brock Lesnar was a tougher fighter than JDS when this season of Ultimate Fighter started.

UFC is very concerned about Brock’s future in MMA and rightfully so. Brock went out of his way on the conference call to stress that he would not retire.

“I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not retiring. This isn’t the end of my fight career, OK? This is something that I believe and I have a strong faith there’s a solution to every problem, I just got to find the right solution to fix this problem. I love this sport and I love what I do, this isn’t the end of Brock Lesnar. This is a speed bump in the road and, trust me, I’ve (endured) a lot of speed bumps throughout my career and this is one of them. Instead of not facing the music, I’m here to tell everybody because I’ve been here before and we want to make it known that I want to state that this is not the end of my career. Far from it.”

He was asked to elaborate on the problems the diverticulitis created this time.

“I can just tell you my symptoms, you know, I have abdominal pain and what happens to me is when I’m training I don’t have the recovery. My immune system is going to fight an infection inside of my stomach and my whole immune system, it runs me down. So, because of what happened to me last time, I took it about three weeks farther than I should have and didn’t address the situation without antibiotics or the right medication, so I don’t want to go down that road again so there isn’t a fight in the world that’s more important than my health. This fight is more important to me than a physical fight, so that’s where I’m at right now.”

With GSP finishing the UFC 129 PPV in Toronto on a flat note and Brock Lesnar now out of action for the time being, UFC is on shaky ground with their major PPV drawing cards. Bet Nick Diaz & Cesar Gracie are happier than pigs rolling in mud right about now in terms of their negotiating leverage and power.

With so many injuries and big name draws dropping like flies, UFC is in a really difficult predicament. Trying to make the best of the situation with the Vancouver PPV, the promotion announced that Shane Carwin would fill in for Brock Lesnar to fight Junior dos Santos. The immediate reaction was one of universal glee online. Now we have a more competitive fight with a guaranteed finish that is sure to be magnificent. With that said, UFC’s move serves as a double whammy. By booking this fight for the Vancouver event, any oxygen that was left in the room for hardcore fans to care about UFC 130 just dissipated. All of that energy now will be focused on the Vancouver event and for good reason. Meanwhile, the name ID value from Brock Lesnar to Shane Carwin is a drop-off and I expect the casual, mainstream interest in the Vancouver main event to take a hit from what it originally was going to be. Now, I’m not suggesting that JDS/Lesnar was setting the world on fire (it didn’t), but Shane Carwin is about as low-key and mellow of a personality as you are going to get to hype up a fight. Same with JDS. Two similar personalities is not going to help sell PPV buys.

As for the initial fight line from the Las Vegas odds makers, JDS is a -260 favorite. That translates to Vegas giving him slightly over a 70% chance of winning this contest.

Was it the right move for UFC to book JDS vs. Carwin? Oh yes. It was the only move they really had at this point. In a strange way, the Frank Mir/Roy Nelson fight suddenly has more meaning because of the shake-up with Brock taking time off.

As for the future of The Ultimate Fighter, what can be said that hasn’t already been stated in the past? The format is stale, old, and unproductive. In order to revitalize the meaning of the show, the producers changed the focus of the show from actually developing real major-league talent to focusing on hawking PPV buys between two coaches feuding on television for weeks at a time. What you ended up with is watered-down prospects and generally lousy fights with coaches who often can’t deliver on a promised payoff because of injuries or other commitments that take place after the show is taped. On top of that, the ‘winners’ of the newer seasons aren’t active on television, are buried on PPV dark match slots, and largely end up being relegated to the dustbin of history. What’s the point of this exercise? Why not just have two coaches build up a fight over the time span of a few months without any sort of competition? A slow build. What a novel concept.

Topics: Canada, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 32 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

32 Responses to “Another dose of reality for The Ultimate Fighter; dos Santos a 70% favorite over Carwin in Vegas”

  1. Dave says:

    As someone who went through diverticulosis a few years ago, it sucks. It is a pain that is hard to describe, the best I can do is say it is like someone jammed a knife inside of you and you can’t do anything about it. Imagine sitting down and feeling like you got stabbed by sitting down… I can’t imagine Brock being able to really train with it.

    Of course, you gotta fix your diet if you have it. I had this like seven-plus years ago now and have yet to have a real “relapse” of any sort. If you feel even a little sick you have to take care of it right then and there, if you let it fester you just get more and more sick…

    • Black Dog says:

      My mother suffered from diverticulitis in the last years of her life, and I have a similar condition. It’s damned painful, and if we’re talking infection, then Lesnar really doesn’t have much of a choice. The cracks about the illness are typical of “people” with the IQ and emotional development of a nine year old (sorry to the nine year olds). Right now, Lesnar’s health is #1, it must be.

      That said, one best hope the Carwin-dos Santos fight draws well; the ratings for TUF are tanking, and not even Lesnar’s presence can save that turkey of a show. It’s another of those matters UFC or any organization is going to have to contend with in its growth.

      • Dave says:

        Yeah, when I was sick I was in constant pain. For me to say, “I need to go to the hospital” means I was incredibly sick.

        People ragging on him for pulling out of the fight are insane.

        Like, go sit on a knife and tell me how that feels. Now, ragging on him for not fixing his diet doesn’t seem out of line.

  2. Jason Harris says:

    I’m surprised at the odds on JDS-Carwin. I guess a lot of people are unimpressed with Carwin after the Lesnar loss, but personally I think that he’s a bigger threat to JDS than Lesnar was. Carwin still has the wrestling threat but also could end it on the feet, where Lesnar’s only shot was to get it to the mat.

    • Mark says:

      It’s not just that he lost to Lesnar, it’s that he should have won that fight, but he had no gas tank because he carries around way too much bulk for a 6 foot man. Until he loses that bulk, I don’t think he’s going to have a chance against somebody who is going to turn a fight into a war like JDS can. He can definitely win if he throws a bomb that connects, but with someone as fast as Junior who turns fights into wars, I don’t see him keeping up.

      As for his wrestling, Junior showed he’s not afraid of wrestlers by holding off Nelson (who is very underrated wrestling.) I don’t see Carwin winning this unless he hits a Hail Mary monster punch that’s a one punch KO.

  3. EJ says:

    I don’t see that as reality, I see that as delusion I don’t expect that to hold up because it would be foolish. As far as this post goes I thought I was reading Bloody Elbow for a second there. Let’s not get crazy here Zach while this definately isn’t good news let’s not reach for the sky is falling headlines. This isn’t the first time that injuries have hurt the UFC’s bottomline it did the same thing last year sucks but they’ll deal with it.

    As far as TUF goes I was the one who said it was a bad idea to book JDS vs. Brock in the first place because it wasn’t going to make for good tv while almost everyone else tried to say it would be huge. I think the UFC learned a lesson they need to pick match ups that will have heat and not just depend on a name. The argument about TUF has been going on for years and nothing will change I just think next season is going to have more help from scheduling because this season was hurt most by the 9 pm slot imo.

    • The Gaijin says:

      The PPV numbers do not lie, that is a reality.

      While the UFC’s overall ppv sales are growing, last year their per card buys fell by >7%. With the loss of Lesnar on top of the current injuries to champs (Cain, Edgar and Jones) they’re looking at a possible second straight year of declining ppv buys/card and the potential reversal of the trend of year-over-year ppv buys increasing.

      Losing a guy like Brock, short-term and long-term, is a pretty devastating hit to the bottom line.

      • edub says:

        This is exactly what I was thinking. None of it was “sky is falling”. It just laid out that the past few months have been terrible for Zuffa. Multiple injuries to main event fighters, TUF still being stale even with Brock Lesnar! there(probably having a lot to do with the time slot, but still).

        Just because the facts are laid out in an orderly fashion doesn’t mean Zach is being overly negative.

      • EJ says:

        You’re right ppv numbers don’t lie, and every year the UFC breaks their own record that type of growth is unheard of and was bound to stop sooner or later. This is what I mean when people reach, yeah losing Brock will hurt but the UFC will deal they’ve built a business that is bigger than one guy.

        Anyways, maybe I was a little harsh on Zach and the points he was making but I honestly got a BE flashback reading it at first.

        • The Gaijin says:

          It was only a three to four year period…let’s not get the hyperbole machine out here with this “unheard of growth” rhetoric.

        • edub says:

          They broke it last year because they ran more PPVs than the year before. This year they are scheduled to run the same amount, and will most likely dip in overall profit from PPV. They have had 4 main events get scrapped or changed pretty much back to back (to back to back). And that is with fights being changed earlier in the year.

          Nobody is reaching for anything.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “The argument about TUF has been going on for years and nothing will change I just think next season is going to have more help from scheduling because this season was hurt most by the 9 pm slot imo.”

      This is the similar kind of attitude that has severely hurt other dominant companies in the past. This is a terrible argument and shows a worrisome ability to react or learn from past results, let alone be proactive about one of the company’s flagship vehicles.

      This show was the catalyst for the company’s explosion in popularity. It helped introduce a number of big name talents that are still with the company. Then it morphed into the vehicle to deliver build-up for a headliner match-up between the coaches, when it appeared that (A) that was the best use of the tv exposure and (B) the talent TUF was attracting was not achieving the initial goal of the show – finding talented fighters and building their familiarity/identity with fans.

      Now the show is drawing crappy ratings, even with the biggest draw the company has, and has outright failed to deliver “the fight” for a third time. It has outright failed to deliver on the one thing the show was redesigned to do – not to mention the fights have by and large sucked and little of the talent looks like they’ll be around the org for long. It’s time for the show to evolve again – to think that they shouldn’t reevaluate the show and its goals/format would reflect a poor understanding on the reality of the situation.

      What’s the famous saying? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?”

      • The Gaijin says:

        And quite frankly blaming the time slot sounds like a PR/Marketing person’s cheap/lame cop out.

        If people want to watch the show they will watch it at 9 p.m. just as much as they’d watch it at 10 p.m. It’s not like they changed it to Friday night at 9 or something, it’s an hour earlier, on the same night and they hyped having BROCKLESNAR!! as a coach. I find it really hard to reason that the “casual fan” (vs. the hardcore fan) really discerned between PPV Brock and TV Brock – they just didn’t show up.

        • edub says:

          The thing is Gaij, there is a big difference between programming on at 9 pm and 10 pm on wednesday nights. You have some of the highest rated TV on at 9 where 10 you have mainly news and a few other tv shows. All week long 9pm features shows around TV like Modern Family, The office, CSI, NCIS, whatever Fox has on, and anything that are the bigger draws on CW, whatever channel 20 is everywhere, the bigger drawing basketball games(Celtics-Heat was on Wednesday), and all of the other channels I’m missing.

          Making the jump from 10pm to 9pm was a terrible move IMO.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I stand corrected. The show just doesn’t strike me as a show with, or majority viewer-base that considers, “substitute programming”.

          The basketball part I can totally get behind, but is NCIS, American Idol or CSI really pulling viewers away?

        • edub says:

          Not sure about those making a substantial impact (have no numbers for anything), but I do know there are some devoted CSI and NCIS followers. I would have to say that American Idol probably doesn’t provide a conflict though :).

  4. Safari_Punch says:

    The UFC’s target audience are douche bags. The response towards Lesnar is not surprising.

    I don’t know what the answer is for TUF, but Zach you’re right that the series has been a bore for awhile now; it has run its course. Hopefully that is the case for all reality shows, but I somehow doubt that.

    I wonder if a weekly format similar to pro wrestling would work for MMA with fights of guys that just aren’t that great, featuring a smattering of stars on the program that drive towards a PPV every month. Do a show with 3 or 4 fights, a cross between SF Challengers/UFN, mix in some interviews and keep the format to an hour.

    • Mark says:

      The UFC’s target audience are douche bags. The response towards Lesnar is not surprising.

      This is so true. I love MMA, but my God, so many of these people are evil. You go online to talk about something you love, yet people always seem to be worked up into a perma-rage over absolutely anything and everything. I don’t get it.

      I wonder if a weekly format similar to pro wrestling would work for MMA with fights of guys that just aren’t that great, featuring a smattering of stars on the program that drive towards a PPV every month. Do a show with 3 or 4 fights, a cross between SF Challengers/UFN, mix in some interviews and keep the format to an hour.

      I don’t think it would bomb or anything, but you have to wonder how many of TUF’s 1 million viewers who watch no matter what are actually fans of the format. I’ve never seen the breakdown to how the “reality” portions of the show compare to the rating the fight gets, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a big chunk of the audience that honestly love the reality stupidity.

      I’ve said for years UFC should use that timeslot as their version of Inside MMA, do a Sportscenter format, go to camps to interview guys, and have a big sitdown studio interview with a star (or two guys in an upcoming main event) as the big draw. I think it would be popular.

  5. Light23 says:

    On a funny note: The UFC did 2,550,000 buys in the first four months of 2011. WWE did 2,049,000 (domestic) buys in 2010.

    It hasn’t really been a bad few months for the UFC. They’re still raking in money hand over fist.

  6. 45 huddle says:

    1) TUF is bad because it builds no prospects anymore and it gives too long of a window for top fighters to get injured between fights. Time to figure out a new show idea and end this one.

    2) I like Dos Santos vs. Carwin better as a fight so no complaints from me.

    3) this won’t do as good of business but I’m at a point now that I don’t care. The UFC is established enough that it won’t go away. And it still does good enough buys to keep money flowing through the sport.

    4). What Edgar, Maynard, AND lesnar might do is hurt the UFC’s power to get a better TV contract. Its hard to negotiate when your product isn’t as reliable year round as other sports. Its the nature of the beast.

    As the person above me pointed out the UFC is still doing great business. I expected this to be a tranistion year and that’s exactly what it has become. As they get more established with the new weight classes and find a new concept instead of the stale TUF….. they will be fine…..

  7. Nepal says:

    Seems UFC is raiding Strikeforce again. Aaron Rosa to fight Beltran at 131. Einemo to fight PeeWee Herman.

    • The Gaijin says:

      How is that raiding Strikeforce?

      Herman was signed to fight Rob Broughton a while back.

      And wasn’t Rosa most recently fighting with Bellator.

  8. Nepal says:

    I’m not sure if Rosa was with Bellator recently but that does ring a bell. However, he’s a Strikeforce fighter… to the best of my recollection so if he’s fighting in the UFC then it’s not “biz as usual”.

    • cutch says:

      With Showtime only paying for the top 4 or 5 fights per card, they need to get these guys more fights as many a fighter has been complaining about lack of fight.

      They just changed the promotions match maker, so it’s obviously not “biz as usual” but I bet the fighters are’nt complaining.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Rosa hasn’t fought for Strikeforce since he got merc’d by Feijao at the end of 2009.

      Since then he’s fought for Bellator, Shark Fights, Titan FC and another regional promotion, so I really don’t think he can be considered “Strikeforce” fighter that was stolen over by the UFC.

  9. The Judge says:

    Not even St Pierre matches Brock in terms of star quality. To analyze what substituting Carwin into this event means for UFC financially and attention-wise is probably like comparing Titan Fighting Championship’s bottom line with that of UFC.
    The more interesting question to me is the reason for the fall of TUF. Is it that there are no Forest Griffins left? I doubt that he would “get relegated to the dark matches on the PPV card” today. Or would he?

    • Mark says:

      There’s a few reasons

      #1 The landscape 6 years later is so different. You know every fighter who could amount to something now, but back then you had to be a hardcore fanatic to know who Leben, Sanchez and Griffin were prior to TUF. Now there’s Bellator, Strikeforce, and a bunch of HDNet shows to showcase fighters on TV (plus closed promotions like Elite, BoDog and IFL to draw from.) Plus 9,000 MMA websites to cover fighters wall-to-wall that Leben’s drunken rage and Koscheck’s attitude wouldn’t have been such a shocker if you’d heard gossip and seen interviews about them. I think Griffin in 2011 would just go to Strikeforce and parlay that into UFC rather than do TUF. Some fighters might even think TUF is a possible kiss-of-death since nobody has become a huge star from it in years. I couldn’t even tell you the winners of most of the recent seasons off-hand.

      #2 All reality shows suck after the first few seasons. TUF 1 was great because everybody was semi-natural. But then the next castmembers think they have to “fit into a mold” as the wacky guy, the a-hole, the drunken enraged guy, the prankster, the family man, the self-doubter, ect. Then instead you get guys who just want to be a gimmick like Jamie Yager, Junie Browning, Wes Sims, “Bruce Leeroy”, ect. who are so transparent of what they really are nobody gets hooked on their drama like the Leben/Koscheck saga.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Basically, “this” a million times over.

        TUF doesn’t attract the “Forrests, Kos’, Florians and Lebens” of the mma world anymore. There is/has been too many upstart and 2nd tier organizations that will snap up guys with any amount of hype/marketability on much better terms than the vaunted “six-figure” deal.

        TUF started in 2005 when there just wasn’t a “middle” market for fighters, you were either in PRIDE or UFC or you fought in regional mid-west promotions and KOTC. Quite frankly the UFC deal was a pretty awesome deal for guys that were forced to have full-time jobs on top of fighting, now the contract is seen as overly restrictive and not that enticing, so most agents worth their salt have told their fighters to fight outside the UFC and get signed to a contract outright.

        Now there’s Bellator and MFC (and until recently SF) snapping up guys to lucrative deals (probably deals that they can’t afford in the long run) to try to grow their organizations (and/or leverage themselves into a good situation re. potential UFC buyouts). So in 2005’s terms you would have had the Shane Del Rossarios, Daniel Cormiers, the Friere brothers, Douglas Limas, Joe Warrens, Ryan Fords, Lorenz Larkins of the world salivating at getting a chance to market themselves on TUF, today you have them getting “big” money deals and well positioned to star for other organizations that have national tv deals and they’ll either make big bank there or get signed to an obscene contract by Zuffa if they’ve hit critical mass.

        So basically you are left with the guys that can’t even attract attention as prospects from those organizations, and you get gimmicky second/third tier prospects and journeymen from regional circuits that do not and will not have the talent to make it on the big stage.

        If I had my druthers, I’d say they should make the “reality show” in the mold of the recent Super Six tourney Fight Camp 360s. Follow around a number of guys, tell their backstories, training leading up to fights, personal/family situations and “day in the life of”. I guess the issue is finding the “common thread” to tie it all together, for example, ripping off the Bellator tourney concept to get a title contender, but I think stuff like that would sell better than the utter derivative content we’re getting with the current runs of TUF.

        • The Judge says:

          Good points, Mark
          And, interestingly enough, the people who made TUF’s fanbase so huge 6 years ago probably don’t know anything about today’s Lebens and Koshcheck’s, they don’t watch HDNet and their website attendance is Sherdog once a month. Yet UFC can’t quite book quality unknowns.
          But did they? Do you think they knew that these guys would make for good television when they chose the cast?

          #2: But these molds develop not so much from TUF, but from reality shows period. TUF was very successful for quite a few years. Did the crowd follow Leben and Bonner, because they are quality fighters? Are they quality fighters?

          I agree with both your points, though.

        • The Judge says:

          Is there enough UFC fans out there who can tell a Forest Griffin from a, well, a Shamar Bailey and who will not watch, if offered the latter, to account for the popularity drop? I don’t think that early TUFs were watched, because fans were blown away by the high quality of talent.

          Del Rosario and Cornier are good fighters, but I am not at all certain their presence of their like would make a difference in Ultimate Fighter’s ratings.

          I think, ultimately, the show has run its course. This isn’t the type of thing that audience is interested in watching year after year after year.

          Personally I think the show only produced a handful of quality fighters and I am disgusted by the amount of TV time, money and attention most of the show’s worthless alumni get.

        • Mark says:

          1) I’m not saying the audience is following Strikeforce and HDNet fights, but that fighters are getting discovered that way. The same hardcores who knew about the TUF 1 cast before the show aired are the same kind of people who are watching Strikeforce Challengers, so that hasn’t changed. How can they introduce them? Just debut them. What did we know about GSP 7 years ago beyond 30 seconds of clips from TKO aired on his 1 minute fight intro package? But eventually he caught on because his personality of a happy-go-lucky guy who is an amazing athlete revealed itself as being incredibly marketable. He didn’t need to have his gymbag thrown in a pool to get people to like him.

          2) It’s that guys from the first season had the perfect combo of having a great personality trait to be caricatured for television, and they could deliver in the Octagon. Most fighters since then have either been one or the other. So since they don’t have that, now seasons are judged by their coaches. Rampage and Rashad and GSP and Koscheck are “good seasons” because they provided the drama and people have to look back to even remember who was on the seasons. But if you watch TUF 1, you wouldn’t even know Randy and Chuck were going to fight because they were both so lowkey that all they did was train their guys. But after Ken and Tito in season 3 and they realized they were running out of unknowns with ability and charisma to put on the show, they made the coaches carry it.

  10. Mark says:

    Dave Meltzer reports Paul Heyman was signed by Spike and whoever produces the “Countdown” shows to teach fighters who can’t sell a fight (starting with Shane Carwin who was horrible for selling UFC 116.)

    I’m sure the wrestling haters will get worked up about this, but I think it’s a smart idea.

    Like it or not, people are more interested in hearing someone talk up a fight than getting excited seeing clips of an exciting fighters old fights in a commercial.

    Look at Tito Ortiz. If you’ve seen one Tito fight you’ve more or less seen every Tito fight. But because he was so great at promotion he outdrew everybody in the UFC’s first 2 years of success, even guys with way more exciting fights like Franklin, Hughes and Liddell. It’s sad but true, to get a blockbuster you have to market a personality or get good trashtalk going. And Paul Heyman is a genius at marketing personalities and knows what to get guys to say to get people interested.

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