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Posted by Josh Boyd
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the MMA market being over saturated, specifically, the UFC having too many shows. Ironically, I heard a MMA media member say something like, “I haven’t heard anyone say that they wish there were more UFC fights on in a while…” This is ironic because two years ago, even just one year ago… a lot of people were saying that! So, now, we are complaining when the UFC delivers?
Let’s look at this in a fair and logical way for a moment. I certainly don’t claim to know everything about MMA, sports, business or whatever, but I think I have a few insights. It seems to me that a lot of MMA people talk out of both sides of their mouths. They say, “MMA needs to be more like other sports!” But then when the UFC buys out their competitors or makes any move to better, they say, “Hey! We can’t have a monopoly in MMA!” Really? What is the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc.?
This whole Jon Jones craziness has brought up a whole other issue. How much of a choice should fighters have when it comes to who they fight? MMA seems to be the only sport where there is a choice at all. There is a reason that MMA promotions have a matchmaker, weight classes, etc. If a fighter is healthy and able to fight, he should have to fight whoever is put in front of him!
I have also heard people say that the NFL only has 16 games, there is a season, and maybe the UFC should take time off each year. Here’s the thing. We are going to have to get used to the idea that most NFL fans might only watch football for a couple of months, but they watch every game featuring their team. They don’t watch every game that is on. The same is and will be true with MMA.
Not every fan is going to watch every event. They are going to watch every event that features their favorite fighters. If a fan really likes 4 fighters and those fighters fight an average of 4 times per year, there are your 16 events. There might be a ton more MMA out there, but those fans don’t care. I watch Colts games. Do I feel that there is too much football on because the Browns play every week and I don’t watch? Can you imagine the same analogy with baseball, basketball or hockey? Thousands and thousands of games!
Besides, how many huge names are there in MMA… five, ten, twenty, twenty-five? There are 30+ NFL teams. GSP, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones are great, but the UFC has to have events and platforms for other fighters. GSP has been out for a year. If you are a diehard GSP fan, your MMA season has been destroyed. The UFC needs to make sure that GSP fans like 3 or 4 other fighters. They do that by marketing and building events around lesser know fighters. Big names are great, but the sport needs more of them. Otherwise, MMA will become just like boxing with fans only knowing a handful of fighters and only wanting to see a handful of matchups.
Anyway, in my humble opinion, I think the UFC is doing the right amount of events. They just need to get more fighters, not less, and they need to raise up more stars. One of the quickest and easiest ways to do this is geography. The UFC already does a good job of marketing local fighters in their local markets, but maybe take it up a notch. Sports fans tend to root for the “home team” rather blindly. An example would be the Detroit Lions. Perhaps the UFC could use their FOX contract to get some fighters exposure. Do some NFL game appearances or something. Perhaps do more big viewing parties in cities around the country for PPV events. Create some hometown heroes, an “us vs. them” situation, even if the fighters have relocated to train somewhere else.
There isn’t too much MMA. The UFC just needs to be a little more strategic with the uses and goals of their many different platforms. What is the purpose and function of a FX card or a FUEL card? How does TUF and TUF International fit into all this? Where is Strikeforce’s place?
Just a few years ago, MMA fans, like myself, were hungry for as much MMA as we could get. Today is a great day… People actually talking about too much MMA, awesome!
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