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A start to UFC’s 2015 event campaign that has played out beyond wildest expectations

By Zach Arnold | January 26, 2015

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UFC’s luck and planning has gone swimmingly so far in 2015. Sure, they’ve caught a few breaks along the way, but it’s a hell of a turnaround from the last couple of years. They just better pray that injuries don’t derail this current gravy train. Conor McGregor is now a full-blown ace. They just better hope that Jose Aldo doesn’t destroy him.

Somehow, they’ve managed to turn the Jon Jones cocaine fiasco into a marketing ploy. Did UFC & Fox intend of creating a campaign to make Jones more sympathetic? I don’t think it’s possible to make Jon Jones a sympathetic figure, but you can certainly sell the fact that he’s as flawed outside the cage as he is perfect inside the cage.

Unless Nevada’s athletic commission was going to suspend a fighter for cocaine usage, I never understood why they tested for it in the first place. Either it’s performance enhancing or its not. The message sent to the general public is that it’s not performance enhancing. For most fight fans, fighters engaging in recreational non-steroid drug usage isn’t a big deal. Jones won in dominating fashion over Cormier and became a GSP-level star in terms of power of attracting the attention of the general sports fan.

Faced with a choice of either Alexander Gustafsson or Rumble Johnson as the next challenger for Jon Jones, both guys presented interesting challenges for Jones and still do. Headbutt or not, Rumble blasted Gustafsson on home soil and has managed to go from WSOF guy to UFC title contender within a year. His personal life has had its ups-and-downs but I don’t really expect many fans to walk away from watching JJ/Rumble at all.

Gustafsson was and is JJ’s kryptonite due to his size advantage. That won’t go away any time soon. You have to feel bad for the guy given that he probably should have gotten an automatic re-match against Jones. Instead, he’ll have to face Daniel Cormier in a very difficult fight. For UFC, it’s a lot easier to sell a JJ/Gustafsson rematch in terms of competitiveness than a JJ/Cormier fight.

Who knows what may pop up in the news between Jones and Johnson as far as personal matters are concerned but marketing the fight itself is going to be a ridiculously easy sell no matter how much Jones is favored to win.

You have to think that Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz this coming weekend will draw well on PPV. Then again, my expectations of drawing well are around 400,000 buys. Anything over that is gravy. Nick’s a 3-to-1 underdog but he attracts fans that other fighters do not. Plus, there’s the intrigue of how Anderson Silva will look and whether or not he can still take hard punches. Will Nick be able to put together a myriad of punches to soften him up and get the proverbial kill shot? Unless Anderson clowns around or rides the Condit bicycle for five rounds, this should be a fun fight to watch.

After the Vegas show, you’re looking at Ronda Rousey doing her thing at the Staples Center in late February. Business is reportedly excellent for that event.

As if things couldn’t look rosier to start this year’s UFC campaign, they ended up with the biggest better-late-than-never Christmas gift in New York state Assembly boss Sheldon Silver getting arrested and now divesting his leadership role to a committee of five hand-picked pols. As the Feds continue to push against Silver, the door will open for MMA legislation to actually get passed in the state. UFC running at Madison Square Garden in 2015 would fulfill one of the company’s biggest dreams. It would also make their current lawsuit in New York all but a moot exercise.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “A start to UFC’s 2015 event campaign that has played out beyond wildest expectations”

  1. TRUTHspitter says:

    you see zack even you of all people have to bow before the master LMFAOOOO


    “jan. stats so far

    UFC 182 Prelims: 1,039,000 peak: 1,346,000

    UFC Fight Night Boston Prelims: 908,000 peak: 1,486,000

    UFC Fight Night Boston: 2,751,000 peak: 3,162,000

    UFC Fight Night Boston Post Fight Coverage: 1,167,000

    UFC ON FOX early number: 2,820,000


    supposedly, the so called “estimates” for the UFC 182 ppv are 740,000 to 820,000

    all this in one month and UFC 183 is yet to come :)”

    Carrying the sport to the top, ONCE AGAIN, the MIGHTY/INFALLIBLE U………..F………….C!!!!!!!!

  2. Mark says:

    Yeah, 400,000 is where this fight is topping out at. It is not a compelling fight since nobody thinks Diaz can win, and he’s not doing the “Crazy Nick” act to get attention for it. The hype is just Anderson Silva in mediocre CGI commercials.

  3. rst says:

    “They just better pray that injuries don’t derail this current gravy train.”

    They did a good job on that one.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Great article Zach, but you always leave out the #2 UFC PPV Draw…. Which is Chris Weidman. I think he is a bigger draw then you give him credit. Perhaps Conor will draw more on PPV, but Weidman can do 400,000 with his name at the top of the card. Rousey isn’t the one carry those PPV buys, which is why she isn’t the main event (and the UFC knows it).

    • Mark says:

      Because he isn’t a draw. Anderson was the draw of those fights, and Rousey was the draw of 175 and will be the draw of 184.

      Look at the hype of those shows. Were the 175 headlines about Weidman and Machida or Rousey? Rousey is a star. UFC isn’t about just who goes on last, it’s who sells. Back in the old days when they gave a crap about regularly stacking cards, a lot of times the main event was the least interesting thing about the show (like the year of Tim Sylvia as champ when they put Tito Ortiz fights as the co-mains.)

      • 45 Huddle says:

        If Rousey was really that big of a draw she would be headlining cards without a decent undercard like the true UFC Stars of the past have done.

        She is constantly being given great main events to be on so she can make more money because Dana White likes her.

        • rst says:

          The rousy deal was political.
          I’m not sure how long thats gonna be trendy.

        • Mark says:

          Machida/Weidman was a great main event? C’mon, son.

          Ronda draws the casuals in. Ronda gets the press. No casuals and no press means mediocre buyrates. It doesn’t matter if she closes the show or not. The draw is the draw. To credit Machida/Weidman for that buyrate is like crediting Sylvia/Arlovski for UFC 61.

        • edub says:


          Weidman is a draw now. He got the Antonio Tarver bump after stopping Silva twice, and as long as he keeps winning will keep casuals around.

        • edub says:


          We’ll definitely figure out if she’s the draw now.

          No more Weidman-Belfort.

    • rst says:

      “… Which is Chris Weidman.”

      I dont know if he’s a “draw”?
      But he’s the sport.

      I’ll take the latter.

    • Mark says:

      He got two fluke finishes: Silva clowning around and getting his comeuppance, then Silva breaking his leg.

      I see no Weidman fandom anywhere but the hardcore fan sites. The casuals aren’t talking about him.

      I don’t like Rousey. But she’s a draw. She’s an entertaining personality, and the media loves the whole “attractive woman who fights” side of things, so will give her tons of publicity. She makes money. Anybody who says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

      • Mark says:

        If Silva destroys Diaz tonight, gets an immediate title shot after the Belfort fight, the casuals are going to say Silva will beat Weidman in large numbers. Not a Tarver bump.

        • edub says:

          I don’t agree with a word you just said, and I think its largely inaccurate (from an opinion perspective).

          People only want to see Silva fight Weidman again to make sure what they saw is real, nobody in their right mind (casuals mind you) thinks Silva would be the favorite.

          Weidman is also mentioned every single time Silva is brought up by casuals and non casuals alike. He is a draw now (with or without Silva). If you don’t see anything out there for Weidman than your simply not looking around, or are intentionally blocking it out.

          Nobody is saying Ronda isn’t popular. The argument is if Ronda is the draw you’re portraying her to be. We don’t need to argue this, as that answer will come now with her headlining against Cat.

  5. rst says:

    “Which is Chris Weidman….”

    Weidman is the sport!

    That Weidman shouldn’t be the “best of all time”
    is a shame!

  6. rst says:

    “Does any body know where Nick Diaz is?”

    He’s going insane.
    He has nothing to say.

    Watch the weigh-in,
    he wont say anything.

  7. Chuck says:

    Maybe I’m being crazy here, but…..that referee totally copped a feel on McMann! What the hell? Did he really need to slap her butt at the end of the round to tell them the round is over? Her back isn’t good enough?

  8. rst says:

    Any Diaz fight is funner to watch then andersons 6 year reign beating up a weak and one dimensional division.
    I knew we lost the dec, but I thought Diaz at least got the first, maybe tied the second, and anderson probably one pointed the last 3.
    But I knew that even if it was a draw across the board, that the bigger name in the media would get the dec.

    Anderson looked quick enough to still tool most guys at 185.
    I can see him dancing around and pot-shotting Gegards flat footed offense to a similar dec as this one.
    But I think he’s gonna have a harder time against the top 4-5 at 185 now compared to the division that he ruled over so comfortably before.
    And he aint beating Weidman.


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