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With a blown out ACL, GSP just lost his leverage & the UFC just lost immediate $

By Zach Arnold | March 27, 2014

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Everything this week was on GSP’s side in terms of enforcing the right kinds of conditions for a return to the UFC. All the momentum and leverage on his side. Nobody in the company right now can draw 600,000+ PPV buys on their own. Chris Weidman can’t. Johny Hendricks can’t. Ronda Rousey can’t. Jon Jones can’t. As a collective group effort with multiple big fights on one card, perhaps UFC could come close. But right now, no singular fighter other than Brock Lesnar can deliver on PPV for UFC like St. Pierre.

And GSP’s stick-and-carrot approach, as my radio co-host Jeff Thaler discussed with me earlier in the week, was clearly working… on paper. St. Pierre has been publicly talking tough about drug usage in MMA and forced the UFC to play defense big time on the matter. Pushing Lorenzo Fertitta to say publicly that he would support VADA-style drug testing without Dr. Margaret Goodman’s involvement is one of those moments where even UFC’s denial still, in essence, validates the work she has done to push momentum forward in increasing drug testing protocols in combat sports. The carrot, from GSP, was the idea of a superfight with Anderson Silva or perhaps even a rematch against Johny Hendricks.

Then came news that Anderson Silva won’t fight in 2014 and Johny Hendricks had to get biceps surgery. And his fight with Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 reportedly drew 320,000 PPV buys. So he didn’t exactly get the instant rub from the GSP fight. That growth in popularity will have to take significant time to develop. Ask GSP all about that.

After Hendricks impressed last November, a new and exciting Welterweight division appeared in the long-term cards. Injuries have now had a mess of things. Carlos Condit has ACL issues. GSP has ACL issues. And we’re left with Tyron Woodley and Nick Diaz floating around as challengers. Woodley is the real deal. But he’s not a major draw.

Coming out of UFC 171, St. Pierre had to be feeling great about his newly-built leverage. And after the event, some positive news came out in the form of a BBC report on new University of Texas-Arlington research about improving protocols in current drug screenings that could help detect steroid usage in athletes for as long as two years. It is a great step up in being able to utilize current equipment to improve the ability to detect drug usage and such upgrades removes some excuses from various state athletic commissions lollygagging on drug testing fighters.

Of course, more emphasis should be put on pre-fight drug tests in order to prevent fighters who are actually using drugs from competing in the first place since the whole argument is about health & safety. But that would mean athletic commissions would lose out on big money from having more fights canceled, hence the current pre-fight and post-fight drug testing procedures in place.

But now that GSP has blown out another ACL, any leverage he had has vanished and will require significant work to accumulate once again. The UFC may be celebrating this development but that celebration is Pyrrhic in nature because St. Pierre is still the best PPV draw they have access to booking.

Topics: Canada, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “With a blown out ACL, GSP just lost his leverage & the UFC just lost immediate $”

  1. rst says:

    GSP worked hard and cleared out a division to get where he’s at!
    I resent that he dont be here to entertain me,
    But I still want to be GSP when I grow up.

  2. david m says:

    I hope GSP never fights again. He is a millionaire many times over and has nothing to prove to anyone; no reason to take more head trauma, or to help the UFC. GSP has never struck me as someone who genuinely enjoyed fighting; he seems like a great competitor and athlete, but also a thinker, rather than a banger.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I wanted him to come back to fight Hendricks. But now that he blew out his other knee…. I think he should stay retired.

  3. […] On FightOpinion, Zach Arnold suggests that GSP’s hiatus was actually putting enough financial pressure on the […]

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Weidman is still an unknown PPV entity. Who knows how those two Silva fights did for his drawing power. With that said, I question if he will really be back for July. He is getting double knee surgery.


    Barao vs. Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Title at UFC 173. A few thoughts on that fight. First, what a bad PPV Main Event. Second, way to throw Dillashaw to the wolves before he is ready.

    The UFC needs to be cancelling PPV’s not doubling down with bad main events. Right now we are looking at the 1st 6 months of 2014 producing 1 PPV with more then 350,000 PPV Buys. And that should be Jones/Glover…. And probably won’t do much more then that.


    Does anybody really feel bad for the UFC at this point? They greatly increased their number of events in an act of pure greed. They watered down their cards to the point that we are getting headliners like Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva…. Not to mention guys like CB Dollaway as co-main events.

    They deserve all of this. Fertitta screwed Fertitta. Even the hardcore “journalists” are writing articles about how all of this is far too much.


    Hopefully this will spell the end of the PPV model for the UFC. Vince McMahon took a huge risk by putting his PPV’s on the WWE Network. I think short term it will hurt his company. But long term it is the perfect move. It is allowing them to control their own destiny and getting away from the cable model.

    The more PPV’s we have headlined by Barao means the closer we as fans will get to seeing the UFC PPV go away.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Just to show how bad the UFC has gotten… The following is a list of fights the UFC has put on PPV in 2014 or has scheduled to put on PPV:

      1) Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner
      2) Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
      3) Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker
      4) Ovince St. Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
      5) James Kraus vs. Jamie Varner

      I could have added more but those were the most obvious choices.

  5. Walter says:

    Ppvs this year are bullshit. They jacked the price for 168 we should all be writing to have it lowered. 173 should be $15 off at least. What does the bald one have to say about that?

    • Nepal says:

      I just can’t understand the pricing model. Raising the price for 168… because you can??? Does that make any sense? Is the buying public happy about this?

      Now if there was only a way to just watch these shitty ppv’s free… Hmmmm. Maybe raising prices and putting on shit ppv’s isn’t the smartest financial strategy available.

  6. Chris says:

    Another ACL injury is a tough break for a fighter who’s getting older. If he can afford to stay retired, he should. His legacy has been established.

  7. david m says:

    I guess the floor for UFC ppvs is around 200k to 250k people who will buy every pay per view no matter what. Barao will draw 250k, I’m guessing.

    Dana, dumbass that he is, is really probably kicking himself for not taking GSP’s demands/complaints more seriously. Dana thought the brand would sell itself–only to a point. People want to watch stars they care about, and as good as Barao is, he has the crossover appeal of a toenail.

    I expect Lyoto to beat Weidman; I don’t think Weidman has any charisma, and Lyoto doesn’t have a style that the bloodthirsty fans like. If Glover beats JJ, Dana is going to have a heart attack.

  8. […] si dice Simpatia 🙂 – il sito FightOpinion, butta li l’idea che se prima il ritorno di GSP ( e i soldi che ne derivavano) sarebbero […]

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    The WSOF show last night was the first show in over a year that had that Strikeforce/WEC vibe to it. Very refreshing. This is something Bellator has never been able to accomplish.

    We are obviously not watching the best guys in the world for the WSOF…. But the show was a fun watch.

    • Jonathan says:

      Do you think Palhares held onto the heel hook too long?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Yes, but it was close enough that he could get away with it.

        He has obviously not learned.

        • Jonathan says:

          Once again we agree!


          Oh, and I’m waiting for people to jump on 45 Huddle and call him a “UFC Basher” and “Pride Nuthugger”

          Just kidding…

  10. rst says:

    Cyborg got her ass kicked!

    Fat chance of whats her name fighting against a 30-0 Thai boxer in Thai boxing.

  11. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    in Cena’s org we would have a GSP Silva wheelchair death match.


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