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UFC is running out of time to make the marriage with Fox Sports last

By Zach Arnold | January 1, 2018

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They’ve got one year left on the clock.

The good news for Dana White & Ari Emanuel is that Cris Cyborg remains the most complex and compelling female fighter over the last decade. The numbers for the UFC 219 PPV look to be very promising.

The bad news is that the successes for UFC are decreasing, not increasing, at a time when the television landscape is becoming brutally unforgiving in contract negotiations. Amazon is looking like a better option each and every day moving forward.

Take Cyborg’s success for example. Cris Cyborg is succeeding entirely on her own merits and without much support from UFC. Every other word out of Dana White’s mouth has been entirely negative about Cyborg and yet she remains a survivor in a women’s MMA business that chews fighters up and spits them out.

Remember Georges St. Pierre? He came back for a fight at Madison Square Garden with Michael Bisping and won. Bisping got squashed weeks later in China by Kelvin Gastelum. And immediately after winning the MSG fight, Dana White was back to tearing down St. Pierre after popping a big number. Instead of talking about what big fight St. Pierre would be involved in next, Dana is back to the “does he or doesn’t he?” retirement spiel.

The successes are being overshadowed by UFC’s failures. The biggest success of 2017 for UFC was due to Floyd Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor drew under 5 million PPV buys but still made all the parties involved an incredibly obscene profit. It was also the beta testing of a possible boxing marriage between Al Haymon and Dana White. Haymon’s PBC needs a boost and UFC is looking for the right carrot to entice a television partner to bite on. Enter Zuffa Boxing.

Zuffa Boxing doesn’t work without Al Haymon and the parties involved know it. Zuffa Boxing works with Al Haymon. It works in helping Fox Sports keep the PBC brand afloat. It works in possibly getting UFC fighters to sign dual sport contracts. From Al Haymon’s point of view, Dana White can help him very much. But what about Floyd Mayweather? Floyd Mayweather doesn’t need Dana White. That’s why Floyd Mayweather is checking Dana White’s claims in public.

Dana White says he’s negotiating with Floyd Mayweather’s team. Floyd Mayweather tells the public that he’s not going to let Dana White use his name to build Zuffa Boxing. The false hope of Floyd Mayweather fighting under MMA rules. Floyd Mayweather believes he is telling the truth when he says that Dana White is using his name because of the current negotiations UFC is having with various television partners.

This smells like desperation. Why is UFC focusing so much energy on Zuffa Boxing? Lorenzo Fertitta would have never gotten this obsessed over creating a new business system. He would have focused entirely on rebuilding and reloading the UFC system. He would have focused on building a little bit more loyalty, real or fake, with top fighters. Eventually, this kind of constant politicking will catch up and erode UFC fan loyalty. Nobody is teflon. Not even the NFL. Rupert Murdoch just sold a heavy portion of his sports assets to Disney. ESPN has chosen to go with boxing and not MMA. Fox Sports 1 still is a roller coaster. At a time when discipline is most needed, UFC’s behavior seemingly indicates that they are making it up as they go along. They may still win despite themselves.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “UFC is running out of time to make the marriage with Fox Sports last”

  1. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Boy you’re down to picking peanuts out of ufcs poop now.
    That was as horrible a sh!tshow as you could get! Where are your 219 ppv #s? Also if you really think that cheatborg was the reason why people watched 219, you’re only half right as people wanted to watch her lose.
    You seem to seem to be happy with women injecting themselves with steroids becoming half man and bullying normal women, and even sucker punching them at the UFC center for gods sake! To claim multiple time cheater Cyborg is bullied is myopic. IMO Cyborg will only be known as one of the greatest CHEATERS in the sport just like JJ AS Royce Gracie. They pissed away their legacy, they deserve whatever scorn they get. I don’t hate cyborg but rewarding cheaters always disgusts me just like Royce or Androstane or JJ.

  2. King Famous says:

    The last ppv of the year was similar to the year ufc had. It was mediocre at best. Holly fought great but looked like she got hurt in there and fell back on launching the same type and pace of technique.

    With Conor holding things up and Khabib still not having consistency with weight that division is floating.

    I watched for Holly and Cyborg. And I thought Edson could have done it, but if Khabib stays on the course he is on, he looks unstoppable somehow.

    As for where the ufc will end up – who knows. I’m not sure they know the difference between an actor and a fighter at this point. They do know how to manipulate every mainstream marketing channel known to man, and in that respect will always find a way to make money. Even if what they are presenting isn’t what it was. WWE does a similar thing. The in ring product may not be the most authentic, but they keep on going.

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      Khabib Barboza was something to watch for Khabib’s incredible control. But Rizin had so many great moves and finishes ufc couldn’t even compare…
      Tenshin’s sublime spinning back-fist counter

      • Diaz's packed bowl says:

        If you can get you’re nose out of CC’s hole for a second maybe you can explain how Khabib gets such a pitiful 80-80 while cheatborg scores a cool 1/2 mil? She doesn’t deserve that! I would never have signed her, but If forced I would pay no more than $250,000 for CC and $200,000 for HH

        Cris Cyborg: $500,000 (no win bonus) def. Holly Holm: $300,000
        Khabib Nurmagomedov: $160,000 (includes $80,000 win bonus) def. Edson Barboza: $75,000

        Sad just sad that the men who made the sport are now playing second fiddle for peanuts to cheatborg hasbeen and zionists.

        The only shows I care to watch are rizin and the bellator HW tournament. Why waste the whole day watching boring entitled ufc fighters go to the score cards? While I did watch 217’s main card in its entirety, I’m mostly just catching up with the occasional ufc fight from some sharing site that has the fights free of commentary. Nothing like just watching the fight with the audience without Rogan repeating the same stupid thing over and over again.

        • Chris S says:

          This is such a confused post. Almost every point by the author teems with lack of understanding, willful ignorance, or approaches outright bigotry.

          -Cyborg is one of the only woman fighters with star potential, and is easily the best woman fighter of all time. Say what you want about her steroid use – I’d agree with you, and find it impossible to believe she’s currently clean – but she deserves every penny she makes. For all of Khabib’s talent and dominance, he has demonstrated repeatedly a lack of discipline in his weight management and does not have the broad public perception necessary to draw big in the UFC. You “deserve” as much as you can contractually negotiate, you’re as valuable to a company as you can make yourself.

          “Zionists”? oh brother. What does this have to do with anything? Besides we can point to a million character flaws, backgrounds or allegedly dysfunctional beliefs of all but a few handfuls of UFC fighters

          “Cheatborg hasbeen”

          “Bellator MW tournament” Which is composed of literally 75% has been or never-was. An interesting show 8-10 years ago that is pure spectacle today.

          Entitled UFC fighters? When you boast of stealing UFC content you don’t really have room to cast entitlement aspersions. Entitled UFC fighters? Weren’t you just complaining about Khabib not getting his due? Entitled UFC fighters? Like 95% of the roster that barely eek out a living?

          At least the Rogan point is defensible. The rest of the post reads like an argument for Jeff Sessions to raid dispensaries

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          Lol, stealing ufc fights. dude, do you even know what copyrighted material means? Willfully ignorant!? yeah…

          Cyborg is the best because she cheats, proven. Thats no best I want any part of.
          I just found out Khabib doesn’t care about money, thats the problem with his paltry pay. But he has millions of fans in Russia, he doesn’t cheat and fights and trains just as hard.

          My opinion, made on an ethical not monetary stance, is that UFC made a bad choice pushing her over a lot of more deserving non cheating fighters.


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