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Five questions coming out of the cancellation of UFC 151

By Zach Arnold | August 25, 2012

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I’ll throw out some questions here and I want to hear your responses in return.

1. How much of Dana White’s conference call talk was a real reflection of UFC management disgust and how much of it was an act to appease other angry business suitors?

I don’t doubt that the anger was very real with UFC management about what happened with the September 1st event in Las Vegas. The problem is that UFC put themselves in a position where they are running so many shows, the fight sheets are like a house of cards ready to topple over when the main event collapses.

However, I suspect that some of the outrage from Dana White towards Jon Jones was more about trying to show angered business partners of Zuffa that they care. Even if MMA attracts don’t attract the kind of whales that boxing crowds do, I’m sure the casinos are less than pleased with the way things have gone down. After all, UFC lost Alistair Overeem for their May card in Vegas and now they have to cancel a Vegas show. Given how the casinos scratch each others backs, I can only imagine that Zuffa is feeling the heat from many quarters.

Even if you take in account the rumors that business for UFC 151 was not great, it’s still a Las Vegas card and it’s supposed to be the home turf for UFC. They’re drawing weaker and weaker advances for most Vegas shows now but many people in the state still rely on UFC events to bring the state cash. Is it absurd that Dana White thinks a testosterone poster boy who lost a 185 pound title fight should immediately get a Light Heavyweight title shot? Yes. But it’s equally as absurd that Jon Jones got into a Twitter battle with Chael Sonnen in the first place knowing that he didn’t have interest in fighting the guy.

2. How much longer are Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta willing to stick around as UFC owners?

You remember an article we posted last October from an industry source that said that they didn’t think Dana White would be the right man to lead the UFC during their stint with Fox? It’s been a pretty crazy start to the UFC/Fox relationship so far and more chaos is coming.

From the article:

Dana White no longer understands the fan base he is supposed to be catering to. This is a two part issue. The first is the number of PPV’s being run by the UFC. The second is the promoting of the smaller weight classes.

If it wasn’t for UFC booking Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort as the main event of the 9/22 Toronto event, you’re talking about Joe Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson as your main event for the new 125-pound Flyweight title. So far, the smaller weight class fights (men) have not drawn well on PPV. You can continue to say ‘exposure, more exposure’ as a mantra but at some point you also have to come to the realization that fans have a certain expectation of size and strength that they have for fighters they see on television. It’s different with boxing fans. With MMA fans, I do believe that for PPV fights you are talking about Lightweights (155 pounds) as the smallest weight class you can go in terms of convincing your casual fight fan to take the competitors seriously. Sure, the Bantamweights and Featherweights have a niche core amongst MMA fans (especially on cable) but it’s not the size that I think a lot of industry leaders thought it could be.

As for how long Dana White sticks around, I could definitely see him out of the sport in a couple of years if health problems continue to mount. Burnout is real.

3. Have we seen the maximum growth potential already for UFC under current management?

Split this into three parts – a) the TV sector, b) the PPV sector, c) live houses. For a) I’ll say there’s plenty of room to grow. For b) I’ll say that you’ll always have the occasional fight that pops a big buyrate but that the floor number for UFC PPV buys is decreasing significantly. As for c)… it feels like eons ago that UFC drew the massive house at the Sky Dome when it fact it wasn’t that long ago…

4. Are fighters gaining political power because of increased exposure or because of thinner cards?

I can’t make an argument for increased exposure. If the sports media took MMA seriously, they would be hyperventilating over guys like Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, and Frank Mir using testosterone just like they are hyperventilating over Melky Cabrera & Bartolo Colon getting caught for using the magic T.

It’s all about UFC sabotaging their own bottom line by running too many shows that seem to blur together for the casual fan. But, at some point, even rich people hate losing money and they return a point of negative returns. How much further does UFC need to go on the over-saturation route to reach their pain threshold?

5. Will UFC cut back on the number of PPVs in future years? If so, is it already too late to recover from the damage of watering down their PPV brand?

They would do themselves a world of good by going to 8 PPVs and 4 Fox network shows, mixed in with the occasional FX & Fuel shows. But they won’t cut back on the number of shows. They should, but they won’t.

Topics: Canada, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 74 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

74 Responses to “Five questions coming out of the cancellation of UFC 151”

  1. david m says:

    I have heard rumors that Condit is injured and Joe Benavidez will take his place against GSP.

  2. Fluyid says:

    1. I think Dana was truly pissed off and that was the source for his tirade.

    2. I think that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. What else would Dana White do? Go back to being a bellhop?

    3. Good question. Part of me thinks that MMA is right where it’s going to be from this point on into the forseeable future, as an established sport; I also wouldn’t be shocked if they are able to grow it a little more.

    4. Fighters are gaining power because as the light shines on the UFC’s practices, many will not like the UFC’s practices. These days, the UFC can’t be quite as authoritarian as it might if allowed to run unchecked. That little crack of light allows the fighters a bit more autonomy.

    5. I think they’re going to keep running as many as they can as long as they keep turning profits. If the profits dwindle to an unacceptable place, they’ll make the changes they think they need to make.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    I think the general conception has always been that the lesser known fighters were always at the mercy of the UFC. I think we learned this week that they are really at the mercy of their fellow fighters. And when those fighters cannot compete (whether it be injury or not wanting a last minute opponent change), it can greatly effect the undercard fighters.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    And now answers to the questions….

    1) I think it was 100% legit anger.

    2) I can see them being 65 years old and still doing this UFC thing.

    3) I think we have seen the maximum growth of MMA in general. There will be high and low points. There will be times like around UFC 100 where they have more people watching. But in general, MMA will never be as big as White & Fertitta think it can be. And I don’t think new management would fix that. This is just the way the American Sports Landscape is…..

    4) Because of thinner cards. When a business can say: “F#ck you, there are 10 other guys who can take your place on this card”…. It completely takes away the power of the individual fighter. But when you are the only draw on the card, you have so much more power.

    5) As a fan, I REALLY hope they reduce the number of PPV’s. But I don’t have my hopes up. Just listening to White on the telephone during the UFC 151 fiasco, and he seemed clueless as to the oversaturation of the UFC. In a perfect world it would be 8PPV/4FOX to 12PPV/4FOX maximum.

    As for doing irreversible damage. I highly doubt it. Fans will always come back for big fights. And doing fewer “big” shows will only increase the chances of that happening.

  5. Jaylon B says:

    Poor matchmaking there. Supposedly, this is what fans want? Against Vitor Belfort? Why didnt he just try to book Sonnen for Toronto card so Jones could wipe the floor with him versus 3 day notice.

    Writing is on the wall for UFC at this point, time to get with the times and fix the mess they made. If I was Jones, finish his next fight and jump ship. Go make Bellator a name.

    • Chuck says:

      “Writing is on the wall for UFC at this point, time to get with the times and fix the mess they made. If I was Jones, finish his next fight and jump ship. Go make Bellator a name.”

      How could he, and why would he? Hey, I like Bellator as much as the next guy, and it has become a legitimate number 2 promotion in North America, but no way will Bellator overtake UFC, even if they get Jon Jones, WHILE Bellator is on Spike TV (next year).

      Don’t forget about the Champion’s Clause, which UFC really hasn’t enforced (except they tried against BJ Penn and would have against Randy Couture when Couture just up and left a while ago). Of all the light heavyweights in Bellator, the only fighter there who has a shot at being competitive against Jones would be Attila Veigh. Wuiff would get cold-cocked, Newton would get out-wrestled AND stopped, and M’Pumbu would get wrecked 25 different ways from Sunday. Naw, Jones is there to stay.

      • Jaylon B. says:

        Yeah just wishful thinking with bellator. But if UFC is going to put that much onus on the guy. Would they be kissing his ass to come back to the UFC if he just said he quits or disappears from the fight game?

        Yeah champ clause pretty much stops that from happening. None of the Bellator guys would handle him. But at least he would be in a better situation where idiotic fans dont place blame on him nor does the president. Rather see him in a place where he is happy to be at versus being in a place where crappy fighters are whining about not getting a payday and blaming it on him.

        When its clear Dana White has no trust in any of those performers on that car. Solely relying on Jones to be the backbone and cash cow for one show. Thats attempting to place large amount of pressure on a young guy. I would be embarrassed by White comments at this point.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    QUESTION #6: If Vitor Belfort shows up to UFC 152, who thinks he will win?


    Belfort will KO him in the first.


    Actually, if I was the UFC, I would have both Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort training for the fight. 8 Days before the UFC 152 card, I would have Belfort pull out and offer Sonnen as the substitute.

    This time they will have Bones in an absolutely NO-WIN Situation. They won’t cancel the event because they already have a title fight on the card. So Jones will have to make a decision.

    If Jones accepts the fight on 8 days notice with Sonnen…. White can blast him for not doing it the first time and Jones will look like an even bigger dirt bag.

    If Jones turns it down AGAIN, his reputation will NEVER be the same for ducking a Middleweight twice.

    If I was Dana White, this is exactly what I would do. He would have nothing to lose because the Flyweight Title Fight is still on the card. And it is time to make Jon Jones look as bad as possible and screw him over.

    Vince McMahon would implement this exact strategy….

    • Bryan says:

      I don’t think you can really do this. Wouldn’t that be tantamount to fixing fights, which is, oh I don’t know, blatantly illegal? You even said it yourself, “Vince McMahon would do this”. If by using his practices as a model you might as well throw all pretenses of being a sport out the window and become a competition to the WWE.

      • Fluyid says:

        Yeah, you can’t have him pull out of the fight, but you can have a replacement fighter in training and ready in case something happens to Vitor. That’s done frequently.

        Throw Sonnen a couple thousand and tell him to be ready, in shape and on weight just in case.

        “Belfort will KO him in the first.”

        Then by all means go put some big money on those huge odds!

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Oh, you are correct. But you can find out about an injury a few weeks before and then not announce it until closer to fight night. Henderson actually did this (not intentionally). Belfort is the most injury prone UFC fighter behind Alan Belcher.

        I guess what I am saying is that if the situation even remotely presented itself, and McMahon ran the UFC, he would do this in a heartbeat to Jon Jones. Put Jones in a no win situation and have him burried for it.

        • Megatherium says:

          Yeah, Henderson did do this, and maybe tipped off his ‘ol buddy Chael who knows how long ago. We do know that Sonnen suddenly started cutting anti-Jones promos well in advance of the card cancellation. And that Jones assured him he wouldn’t bs his way into a title fight, that he (Sonnen) was a racist prick and would have to earn his shot like everyone else. I can only imagine the actual subsurface bs that really went down that lead to this.

          But what really matters after all is the quality of fight card that Zuffa provides the fan, and that has become goddamned awful.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And if you notice, with the cancelling of the UFC 151 PPV…. And only having 1 PPV in September…. The next 3 cards just got that much better.

        • Jaylon B. says:

          So you should be thanking Jones instead of crying about him.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          The next 3 cards now have 10 meaningless fights instead of 7. It is a big improvement.

  7. Jim says:

    As something of a Las Vegas insider I can tell you that the other casinos in town could care less if UFC 151 was cancelled. The UFC has already killed Las Vegas as a live market. The UFC’s core fan base doesn’t produce significant revenue for the casinos anyway. The reason that advance business is weaker for this event is that casino hosts and other ‘independent’ hosts who try to attract business for them have had to eat too many UFC tickets in the past year so they’re not buying tickets for their clients any more. For most cards they literally can’t give UFC tickets away. I get at least six or seven offers for free ducats per card and I’ve only attended one UFC show in the past year and that only because a friend was in town and wanted to go. The casinos wont even notice that the UFC card was canceled since 9/1 is also the opening Saturday of the college football season. I don’t have any particular insights on your other questions but as far as the Las Vegas market is concerned Carrot Top’s live shows are a tougher ticket than the UFC at present.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    Eduardo Dantas… The Bellator Bantamweight Champion…. Who I thought had the potential to be the real deal…. got KO’d in a Shooto fight.

    This is why you don’t let your champions fight in other organizations.

    • Megatherium says:

      Wow, that is a shocker. And I share your feeling about the kids` potential, I even thought he was maybe a better prospect than his bw teammate Renan Barao. And you`re right, you can`t let your champions fight outside your org.

      SEG looked like crap every time Pat Miletich lost outside when the UFC while he was their supposed 170lb champ. And even if the exclusivity policy cost Zuffa the services of Anderson Silva back in 2001, and that really sucked, it is the right policy for sure as this Dantas shocker demonstrates.

    • Megatherium says:

      Did anyone see the Bellator prelim fight Friday night between Cosmo Alexandre and Harry Johnson?

      Let’s just say a new low in refereeing was established in that fight.

    • Megatherium says:

      Also, did anyone notice that Marcos Galvao used a 12/6 elbow technique(apparently legal in Mississippi)in his finishing barrage against Luis Nogueira.

      I thought that we had unified rules these days?

    • Jonathan says:

      Wait…are you sure you got that right? Someone got KO’d in Shooto? Did they have the pillow gloves on? Was he given three standing 8-counts? Was he able to rope-escape?

      This makes no sense…I think we’re being trolled.

  9. edub says:

    1. 50/50. Half of Dana’s “outrage” is an act that Zuffa is putting on for fans that think what Jones did was wrong, and plays to the opinions of people who still don’t like fighters having any say in their career. The other half is him being pissed because he can’t control the situation.

    2. Really? I don’t understand why this is even a legitimate question. Their business is down, yet they’re still making boatloads of money. I’m sure all of their stress is eased once they see their bank accounts monthly statement.

    3. It’s anybodies guess. Another star could come along tomorrow to ignite PPV buys to the 2009-2010 level. I doubt they’d go with more free cards/less PPV cards per year, though (which I think would be a good idea.

    4. They are gaining more power. I have no idea what took so long, or who these guys are listening too. They held the power since Chuck and Tito did over a million buys the first time. They just never exercised it.

    5.Hopefully, they do.

  10. Megatherium says:

    1) I want to believe that it was mostly embarrassment with the sad state of affairs of an until recently very robust promotion that had just seen a single injury topple an entire event on their home turf. But sadly I suspect that it was just a petulant, frustrated rant that they weren’t able to make the ludicrous Jones vs Sonnen title fight and ‘save the day’ while everyone outside the bubble howled with laughter at the state of their so called ‘sports league’.

    2) No idea. It hasn’t felt to me like the same group of people are making the decisions behind the scenes at Zuffa the past two or so years. I don`t really understand what they are up to anymore, it just seems like something isn`t
    quite right. Never thought they were wizards or anything, but they seem to be blowing it right, left, and center these days. Maybe, just maybe, what we have been witnessing these past two or so years is a final draining of the goblet before get out time.

    3)-a) I think they could be in for a battle next year on the tv front. With Spike set to deliver high quality weekly Bellator shows mixed in with occasional K-1 kickboxing events I know I`ll be adding Spike to my cable package in January. Given the struggles of UFC on Fuel I`d say they could be looking at some considerable shrinkage in the free tv area. Also, look for Joe Rogan to drop his `that guy has K-1 level kickboxing` catchphrase; the fans are going to see what that looks like for real next year and Amir Sadollah ain`t it.

    b) Gradual shrinkage with the stars drawing decent numbers three or four shows a year.

    c) Sharp decline.

    4) They`ll have no choice but to cut back if they don`t want to hand the Jon Jones`of the mma world movie star like clout. Things dilute any thinner and Jones, Silva and St.Pierre can start their own company. That UFC total fight card event experience is SO 2009.

    5)If they plan to stick around the fight scene they`ll have to start doing things that make sense again. Cutting ppv`s in half and preparing to battle Bellator and K-1 with strong tv cards next year would be a good start.

  11. Jaylon B. says:

    The minute Jon Jones says he prepared to leave the fight game after all the whiny fans and guys like Dana White pressure him to take fights that have little economic value or benefiting…I bet most of the UFC fanbase and sherdog leg humpers will start talking about how they miss Jon Jones or Dana kissing up to the boys in hoping that Jones doesnt leave or go away from the sport. At this point, the fighters hould have this power. The power to say no to bunk/janky fights.

    Again, this is a company that attempted to place the Onus of a show all on one man and if I was the fighters, once again…I would be pissed that president does not trust me to put on a good show for fans to watch. So cancelled a show because the fighters on the card just were not up to par or challenge with drawing interest. Playing the blame game on one man is simple childish and goes to show how downhill UFC has gone in the past year and half with the saturation of shows and Dana White’s unprofessional attitude on the matter.

  12. Light23 says:

    It used to be that you’d have one show a month, that had a title fight, a good co-main event, and a bunch of interesting fights underneath.

    You’d know what the schedule was and be able to get hyped up about each event. Now it’s just “oh, another UFC card”.

    I’m thinking about scaling back and picking and choosing what events I watch (and I get them for free), but the problem is, I don’t even know which ones to choose now.

  13. […] Five Questions Surrounding the Fallout from UFC 151 ( […]

  14. The Gaijin says:

    I read a pretty well sourced rumor that Hendo tipped Chael about the injury and Sonnen had been in camp several weeks prepping to face Jones if/when Hendo had to drop out. This would seem to make a lot more sense given all the “out of nowhere” smack talk Sonnen was laying down.

    If the UFC had ANY knowledge of this going on and still tried to make the fight, let alone throwing Jones under the bus for not taking it bc of this orchestrated play, that’s a really, really bad look.

    It’s certainly not fight fixing, but it is totally shady business.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It is shady on somebody’s part. Either Henderson or the UFC’s. Right now it would appear Henderson is the shady one who got injured without telling the UFC. But stories like to unfold over days, weeks, and months…. so time will tell.

  15. RST says:

    “But it’s equally as absurd that Jon Jones got into a Twitter battle with Chael Sonnen in the first place knowing that he didn’t have interest in fighting the guy.”

    Thats an interesting perspective.

    But I dont think its a matter of Jones wont fight chael,
    I think its more a matter of not rewarding Chael with a payday and title shot for nothing more then being rude and insulting.

    If I was Jones, chael would be the last person I would do a favor for!

    Let alone how degrading to Jones personally it is to expect him to do that for chael,
    dana seems to no longer have any problem insulting the VALUE and INTEGRITY of a UFC belt or division with his twitter-title shots at this point!

    dana/joel have already made a mess out of 185 for years.

    If chael needs a beating from Jones so bad let him earn it in the division like everyone else (that wont happen),
    or I’m sure he can get it for free by being so rude and insulting to Jones’ face!

    And thats all before we found out that Hendo and Chael had been scheming for weeks to cook up this last minute ambush on Jones with the help of dana’s 13 year old and twitter obsession.

    “How much longer are Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta willing to stick around as UFC owners?”

    I’m sure as long as they can milk a profit from it.

    Dana started out as a real fan,
    but success and mid-life crisis have made him into any other selfish opportunist trying to milk every buck out of something any way they can until they’ve trashed it and there is nothing left.

    Its also a bit concerning to imagine who zuffa WOULD sell to in that current state of mind.

    The state of mind that would turn the SPORT they formorly championed into a soap opera for a few more dollars,
    would just as quickly sell to the highest and most UNDER QUALIFIED bidder for a bit more profit.

    The kind of filthy rich investor pimps would invariably finish off the job.

    I’m trying to imagine who could be a buyer with the genuine interest and experience to keep MMA moving forward?

    Golden Glory?

    “Dana White no longer understands the fan base he is supposed to be catering to.”

    He’s catering to the wrong fanbase.
    Flaky selfish 13 year olds on twitter.

    He’s got a new group of friends.

    “Are fighters gaining political power because of increased exposure or because of thinner cards?”

    I dont know about all fighters,
    but Jones is in the unique position of being a genuine champion!

    It would be high comedy to see dana treat Jones or Junior the way he treats guys like king mo.

    That would put the kibosh on the whole “MMA is a Sport” argument.

    I’m sure dana is seeing now that he cant always have a real sport and a puppet yes man as champion at the same time.
    (I’ll bet he would prefer the latter!)

    So he has once again resorted to his favorite rich boy tantrum,
    punishing everyone else and then blaming on the person who isn’t

    doing what he wants them to.

    “Will UFC cut back on the number of PPVs in future years?”

    I dont think so.
    Success, age and twitter have ravaged dana’s mind at this point.

    He is no longer vintage dana,
    he’s now prequel dana.

    And he has no intention on listening to anybody,
    learning from his mistakes,
    or having his ultimate wisdom and authority outright questioned.

    The only people who can get an idea through to dana at this point are

    13 year olds on twitter.

    The same ones who got us into this situation.

  16. Megatherium says:

    And RST scores a direct hit on the correct.

  17. Alan Conceicao says:

    1. It wasn’t real anything. It was promoter talk. Stupid promoter talk, but promoter talk. Throwing Jon Jones under the bus is to protect the UFC name, as if the UFC name has such carte blanche that it can’t be sullied with a cancelled PPV card. Mind you, there was a cancelled UFC card already this year (Montreal) but we’ve all forgotten that one already. The UFC name is to be protected above that of the fighters, even if it is Jon Jones’ name and not the UFC’s selling tickets, PPVs, etc. And when Jones walks through Belfort, it will be Dana talking about how great he is in the post fight presser instead of admitting that its a joke fight.

    2) The UFC is presented as being the ego of Dana White. He is going nowhere.

    3) Current management may adjust the way it does business and things change. As far as the present business model is concerned? Yeah. I don’t know what is surprising about that.

    4) Obviously they have because UFC 151 no longer exists. What you see now is “hardball” UFC style – A crap fight hoisted on the fans to prove a point to Jon. If Jon wins, we’ll look back in 8-10 years and people will just see a joke of a fight. The bigger statement here is that the UFC has finally cancelled a card on short notice. Having crossed that bridge they are likely to do it again.

    5) They aren’t going to cut back on PPVs until they have to. UFC on Fox 5 is exactly the kind of card that they should have been putting on all along – putting on guys who they need to be PPV draws right now in meaningful, good fights in front of the largest audience possible. They may have fucked up and already devalued the shit out of the deal with Fox by televising shit, but I wouldn’t make that statement yet. Same with the very, very real possibility that Ben Henderson is no more of a draw on Fox than Dan Henderson was on CBS. We know Shogun ain’t no free TV draw.

    • david m says:

      It is no surprise Bendo can’t draw on TV; he is the least skilled UFC champion at a division below HW in the last 10 years, in addition to being nothing special on the mic.

      He also has no charisma. The guys who can draw (at all) in the UFC are: GSP, BJ, Anderson, Chael, Rampage, Rashad, Jon Jones, Machida, Nick Diaz, and maybe Cain/J2S.

  18. Light23 says:

    I find it quite ironic that Jones gets hate for turning down Sonnen with three days to prepare, but Machida and Shogun don’t get any flack for turning down Jones a month out.

    Now we’re left with Jones fighting a middleweight who doesn’t deserve a shot at 185 never mind 205.

    • Jaylon B says:

      Which is pretty much what we were gonna get by little or no choice. Sonnen was bad enough, now Vitor. Wait to attract fans and make money, UFC.

      Yeah most of the flack Jones is receiving is from Pro UFC sheep it seems. Fans who are blind to their surroundings.

      The blame game in this matter is pathetic. MMA Media is ttrying to push that fighters are blaming him too. which iisnt the case, they are just whining about not making a paycheck. But this is why you always have a backup plan in the first place instead of placing all your chips in MMA. Your career could end anytime.

      It will be only a matter of time before we see Dana white in a commercial with Jones kissing his butt.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      jones had a full 3 month camp and was asked to fight a guy with a month camp at best who is a weight class smaller.

      Shogun and Machida were asked to have a 1 month camp with a fighter in the same weight class.

      Not even close comparisons.

      • Jaylon B says:

        Comparisons, they both are the same. You are desperately attempting to find a reason to dislike Jones more than you already do. Your opinion is so biased its not even funny. I am not a fan of the guy, but not going to sit here and blame him for a cancelled show.

        Of course in your mind, if this is acceptable. We might as well book scrub guys on losing streaks versus legit champions. Why not just go get Lidell to fight Jones or Ortiz.

      • Jaylon B says:

        Someone is desperately looking for a reason to hate Jon Jones even more than he already does. You have repeated the same old broken record to no prevail.

        In your mind, we might as well go get Ortiz or Lidell to go fight Jones. We know your same old answer would apply if Jones turned that down.

      • Megatherium says:

        I’m buying the theory that Jones/Jackson suspected that Hendo/Sonnen and perhaps even White hatched this thing a while back and assumed that Sonnen had been preparing for this fight for some time and didn’t appreciate being sandbagged. You can see how this would drive a perfectionist like Jackson crazy.

        Big difference in opponents too, despite the spin. You’re moving from an orthodox Greco based slugger with a big right hand and a strong clinch to southpaw lay and pray. It takes time to prepare for an energetic lay and pray stylist who can stay busy for five rounds. Taking this fight while preparing for that one would have been a dumb and potentially costly move.

        Greg Jackson probably isn’t getting the credit he deserves here for being the adult in the room and calling shenanigans.

      • The Gaijin says:

        I thought another very interesting tidbit was that UFC 151 had only sold 3,000 tickets…kind of seems like some hardcore spinning of the blame for cratering a card that was going to perform pitifully at the box office. Maybe they thought Phael was going to drive last minute walk-ups?

        Kind of kills this whole “OMG!!!111! Jones screwed ALL OF THESE FANS when the card sold so poorly in the first place…

        • Megatherium says:

          Only 3,000 you say. Hmm…and once you consider the ticket holder refund option the Nevada state regulations provide when the main event of a fight card is changed they would have been staring at a nightmare empty house scenario, complete with nosediving ppv numbers.

          But yeah, darn that Jon Jones anyway.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Jaylon B

        I pointed out how they are not the same. There is a huge difference in fact between the two.

  19. Zack says:

    Anyone who has followed the sport over a long period of time has to see some serious irony in putting Vitor in as the man after all this fallout.

  20. Steve4192 says:

    More LOLs from CSAC:

    “Following Strikeforce’s Rousey vs. Kaufman card on Aug. 18th, the California State Athletic Comission (CSAC) handled their usual review process of the fighters urine samples. Oddly though, this time it wasn’t the same. It seems the CSAC is now reporting ‘invalid results’ across the board.”

    This is what happens when you have three inspectors trying to do a job that used to be handled by seven. Things fall through the cracks.

  21. RST says:

    In another cute bit of irony,
    although BE is an at least 50% unreadable website,
    I was reading the comments section earlier today anyway (just to gauge the current state of affairs in the world of 13 year old twitter fans and to annoy myself),
    when someone made an interesting observation!

    Its happens periodically.

    That after dana spitefully cancelled his latest mediocre scheme and moved all the fights to the rest of the year,
    it has actually made the rest of the cards this year just a little more substantial!

    So if it were Jones’ fault that 151 was cancelled,
    then I guess he also deserves credit for making the remaining cards of the year a little better!

    Although I guess Hendo is the one who really deserves the credit for training carelessly, injuring himself a month out, and then not mentioning it to anyone (Well, probably SOMEONE) until a few days before the event insuring that there would be no time for a reasonable replacement to be found!

    Now if we can just reschedule and recancel Hendo/Jones at the last second a few more times for the next 12 months,
    maybe we can coerce dana/joel to cancel a few of the limp watered down products they’ve got prepared for next year.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The number of PPV cards is the problem. If they reduced it down to 8 to 12…. They would not be having any problems.

      They could easily do this, and then put on a weekly fight series and have enough talent to draw a decent crowd and ratings each week.

      But White is such in PPV mode that he can’t see beyond his own nose.

      • Jonathan says:

        Is this because every UFC PPV makes them money?

        If so, why would they stop?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          is every PPV really making them money now?

          Edgar/Henderson 2 had a tiny gate and around 250,000 PPV Buys. The Franklin/Silva 2 card did under 200,000 PPV Buys.

          I’m not so certain every PPV is making big money now. And if they are, it isn’t enough compared to the negatives…. Like bad FX and FOX ratings.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          The PPV cards are probably all making money. Franklin/Silva 2 was more about the Brazilian TV than US PPV. Any buys it got weren’t even necessary to turn a profit. So much of fighter pay is backloaded in locker room and PPV bonuses that a dog of a card can be quickly swept under the rug at little cost.

  22. david m says:

    7 years ago today, Pride held a show featuring Fedor vs Mirko, Shogun vs Overeem, Wanderlei vs Arona, and Shogun vs Arona (among others). The quality of mma cards has gone through the floor since then. All the talk about the UFC consolidating talent being good for the fans is pure shit. No competition = no worries.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Things change. The expansion of the sport was bound to lead to less mega-cards because drawing names would fight on their own shows.

    • bigweeze says:

      Consolidation has nothing to do with it. How does keeping the best fighters from fighting each other help anything?

      To me, part of the problem is actually higher fighter pay (especially at the top). As a result, guys are pickier about who they fight, when they fight, drop out of fights more due to injury, and are more reluctant to take short notice fights.

      • RST says:

        “To me, part of the problem is actually higher fighter pay (especially at the top). As a result, guys are pickier about who they fight,…”

        I can see there being some truth to that.
        But aside from being “the problem”, thats also how you attract finer athletes.

        Compensation is why there is enough talent in the sport to have a 205 division filled with amazing specimans like Shogun, Lyoto, Gustaffson, etc and a super specimen in Jon Jones to rule them all!

        And a top athlete has every right to expect to be treated as such after all the work they have put in to mold themselves.

        Without proper compensation (and respect) you’re left with the grab bag of random desperate pugelists without career alternatives brawling any thing that moves for enough money to pay their golds gym membership.

        “How does keeping the best fighters from fighting each other help anything?”

        I’m not sure what your asking here?
        Why would zuffadana do that?

        Imagine Zuffadana are hostess cakes and have bought up the worlds supply of delicious cream filling.

        But now instead of making every twinkie even more delicious,
        they’re making more twinkies and just putting a tiny drop of delicious cream filling in each one.

        But their still charging the same price for each twinkie.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Big Wheeze is correct. It is one of the bad parts of paying fighters more money. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be paid more. It is just a bad side effect.

        Rich fighters typically make for boring fighters. A fighter fighting to put food on his table for his kids will always be a better talent for both the UFC and the fans.

        • RST says:

          “A fighter fighting to put food on his table for his kids will always be a better talent for both the UFC and the fans.”

          I agree that there is a certain logic to that,
          Thats the same way I feel about rich boy UFC now compared to UFC fighting to put food on the table.

          OVERPAYING an athlete (or organization) is a problem.

          Tito never deserved what he got.
          Except arguably for his promotional value to 13 year olds who follow the hype more than the sport.

          aa COULD deserve what he gets.
          But they have made him into a new tito so he never “earns” it.

          Jones has performed like gangbusters against the top competition in the history of the sport and earned it everytime!

          There is no reason that he should feel obliged to perform balloon tricks with chael sonnen after that!

          Some people say GSP fights safe now.
          Thats because GSP has something valuable to lose in a legitimately dangerous division that isn’t that far behind him.

          If you want to see careless brawls,
          then get rid of a divisional belt.

          Just hand out a new one at every event like demolition derby.

        • RST says:

          aa = as.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        Look, when PRIDE existed along with the UFC, you had at least two versions of belts in any given weight class that meant something. Depending on the time frame, that number expanded per weight class – sometimes 3 belts or 4 belts meant “something”. Now only one belt means anything from 125 to heavyweight in the sport. You can’t have two title belts defended at every single relevant show. That doesn’t mean you should start having Intercontinental/TV/US/European titles. No one should be actively begging to see this thing become boxing so that they can pretend to care about every single fight that happens.

    • RST says:

      Anybody over the age of 13 kind of knew this was going to happen,
      but since no one could stop it we all just had to hope for the best.
      (Fat chance of that.)

      Unfortunately (and not so surprisingly) it does seem that instead of zuffadanas consolidation of available talent yielding new incredibly stacked cards and the “superbowl” of MMA,
      they’ve instead invested more of their time, effort and PROFIT into desperately perpetuating an iron fisted monopoly that allows them to bully their customers and employees, lavishly reward themselves and favored cronies, and ultimately extort more for giving less.

      zuffadana have become the wallstreet bankers of MMA.
      And their product is going the way of the value of a buck.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Pride also had 10 events that entire year. The UFC will have 3 times that number this year.

      And Pride had some really bad cards that fans somehow gloss over.

      It has nothing to do with competition. It is a number of cards vs. maturity of roster problem. The UFC has 30 cards and only 5 mature weight classes. The bottom 3 weight classes are still being filled out and in 2012 cannot handle helping with filling out the cards better.

      • RST says:

        “It is a number of cards vs. maturity of roster problem.”


        You’re not supposed to plan, push and pretend MORE cards then you’ve actually got the resources for.

        And then blame someone else when that house of cards collapses.

        When your roster matures enough to handle it, THEN you put on more cards.

        zuffadana has been comfortably in the black and with an insurmountable monopoly over any competition for awhile now,
        so there is no reason to BS the customer like they’re still scrabbling to survive.

        zuffadana chose to use the opportunity of having all the talent in the sport under one umbrella to spread them thinner instead of better,
        for a few more cents on a dollar.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And that is the real problem. They expanded before they were ready for it. I think Dana White thought he could just create more belts and the fans would follow. That just hasn’t been the case. Outside of BJ Penn…. The bottom 4 weight classes have never been a huge draw for MMA. And White & Feritta expected fans to buy those PPVs all the same.

          Each PPV or FOX card should have 3 big fights. Either 2 title fights and a #1 contender fighter…. Or 1 title fight and 2 really big fights. And if they can’t get a card with those 3 fights…. It shouldn’t be on PPV or FOX.

          Instead what we are getting is about 14 title fights for the UFC ALL YEAR. That is insanely bad.

  23. david m says:

    45: come on man, saying Zuffa’s watering down of cards doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of competition is disingenuous at best. There is a reason when Raw and Nitro were on head to head, both shows produced more creative, higher-quality material. Competition leads to a better product; UFC is just lazy now; not in quantity, but in quality. They have stretched themselves too thin, but because they know nobody can take their market share, they don’t care.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      They have stretched themselves too thin by going to 30 cards with basically 5 good weight classes. Pride in 2005 was at 10 cards with 4 good weight classes, and even then they used the same fighters for 4 or 5 fights per year in order to get those stacked cards.

      When the UFC has Feather, Bantam, & Fly at the levels they should be, they can operate around 30 to 40 card per year maximum. And even then, they can still only do about 12 to 15 PPV/FOX shows per year.

      Competition never meant anything. To the casual fan there was never a competitor. And even the Pride guys were never a big draw in the UFC on average.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        There’s no limit to the number of cards the UFC can have. The problem is the attitude that they need to televise EVERY FIGHT and that EVERY FIGHT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER. Every card has to be stacked even when it isn’t. Every main event has to be historic. It is ridiculous. They won’t let the sport sell itself, because then that means it isn’t the UFC selling it (and that anyone else could).

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Yeah…. but…. Joe Rogan would never lie to me. The next UFC is always the biggest and best!!

          The UFC could put on more cards…. But they would need to do it as a weekly show like Bellator and just make it part of a persons weekly viewing schedule. They can’t sell the cards as the “best ever” on random Fridays and Saturdays during various times of the year. It is not working.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And actually, I can’t stand the “best ever” routine so much that I really don’t watch anything but the fights on the PPV. I watch the new opening because I like that…. Then i turn down the volume. Then I go read a book or go online and about halfway through Buffer’s introductions I turn up the volume and get ready for the fight. I watch about half of the post fight interviews (most are still pointless because no good questions are asked) and then I turn down the volume again until the next fight starts.

          Sometimes I watch the introductions to the really good fights, but not always.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Yup. Instead the fight cards are all over the fucking calendar, sometimes grouped together in close proximity, sometimes not. Oh, and we still get two versions of TUF, neither of which has fighters worth a damn.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Except when one of those organizations ceased to be creative in such a manner that the fans cared emotionally about the contrived storylines and scripted action, tanked, and then disappeared. There’s that aspect of the competition too. It ended. Besides, what exactly do you want from the UFC that you imagine competition would provide? Better cards? Something that doesn’t exist like “creative matchmaking”?

      • David M says:

        Alan: better ppv cards. Of course part of it is because they run so many shows now, but it seems they don’t prioritize their ppv cards as they should.

        Also, if there were a legit competitor, ufc would have signed fedor years ago, and guys like king mo and eddie alvarez would be in the ufc or getting paid a lot more than they are now.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          If there were legit competitors, they might have signed Fedor themselves and had him compete for them. Maybe he would have fought ex-UFC champions who had recently left the promotion and were still highly ranked? I bet we could have seen Fedor fight, I dunno, 6 times in the US before he headed outside the states. There’s also no guarantee the UFC would have put on better PPV cards because there’s no rational reason why they would. Instead it would be behoove them to take talent off of PPV once in awhile for counter programming.

          Oh. Wait a second.

  24. Megatherium says:

    It’s going to be getting crowded, fight wise, on cable tv next year! The sixty dollar price tag for a UFC ppv is looking less and less appetizing to fans with this blizzard of free, live UFC, Bellator, K-1, and now this new upstart promotion that seems headed to NBC Sports (Versus).

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Just like the new Pro Elite was supposed to be the next big thing. And before them was the WFA, IFL, Strikeforce, and various other promotions.

      I will believe it when I see it.

      And the K-1 deal on SpikeTV is completely irrelevent. They have no decent talent anymore. It is a worthless deal.

      • Megatherium says:

        Yes 45, Glory is signing most of the top talent (interestingly, they are apparently willing to `lend some of them, like Tyrone Spong and Jerome Le Banner, to this new WSOF promotion). As for the new K-1, I`m sure it will be worth watching on basic cable a few times a year if you like kickboxing, or even if you just like watching fights.

        But my point was that with close to 100 shows on cable tv next year, watered down $60 ppv`s of the standard currently being produced by UFC might get lost in the mix.

  25. Jonathan says:

    In 5/10/20 years, I wonder how many fighters will have “K-1” level of striking?


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