It looks like a pretty good number as far as what people are rooting for and what are people thinking, though, weve got some tough choices ahead. And these choices are not easy for me to make. And this, of course, is a problem both for our organization and the business of UFC. And for the sake of those of you who already are on the fence, here’s my reasoning:
1) So-called ‘low income’ consumers.
I’m not sure that the term ‘low income’ will ever come up in the UFC again, but its the most appropriate thing to do here. If we are to be the great fighting sports company were supposed to be, then it has to have a strong, steady business plan. Our success in all facets needs to come from the bottom up. And we will be no different. If youre going to be a UFC fan you will be looking for success from the bottom up. No one needs to do the work to try to get there, no one. We are going to be a bottom up company. This means we need to be competitive with everyone. That’s why our fighters need to get the recognition that they deserve. These people need to be respected. Their efforts are valued because of who they are and the sacrifices they have made. They should be the ones getting recognition. This is our business, not their. If you are someone that works on the low income side, you should support us. If our fans want to make the ultimate sacrifice, go make that sacrifice too.
2) Smaller markets.
You know with the money that we are making now it really should have been harder for us to sign more fighters. After all, it’s not like our competition in the 205-pound class are anywhere near as hot. As a whole, I suspect even many of us would have lost out on some top caliber talents if we went for the bigger package in the middle weight class. But the reality is, we are not really in a ‘bigger market’ right now. Many other promotions are in much larger markets than we are here in the USA and Canada. Even our main card shows are not really that big as they are on TV. Why? Well these shows tend to be shot by an established talent when they are going to be on the big stage. In Europe and elsewhere the promoters know how to market their card and they take the gamble of letting top talent enter the ring. This allows a fighter to make some pretty decent money before he has to fight a bunch of people on a card. On the other hand, the promotion in the middle weight division is much more like a mini-UFC. It depends. Look around the world, and there really seems to be nowhere in the world that does this work better than the UFC. If you have a UFC show you can get a top, middle class fighter like Josh Barnett to make a helluva paycheck every single month. Yes, you can earn that kind of money in the smaller markets, but you still have to compete with a lot of fighters who are going to make far greater numbers.
3) Its not realistic to keep all these fighters.
I can understand why they would want to keep as many of these guys as long as they can. I can totally understand the hunger. I guess what I need to know is how much of what I really want from the competition should be taken care of. How much of the ‘bigger markets’ really do match what the rest of the world is earning? And more importantly, what part of that, if any, should we cater to? A year ago at the recent UFC 204 media day, I wanted to call out the UFC fighters after they came back from the UK. And I know, in my heart, that I did. The fact is, that the fans all want to see a lot of talented, high-pitched characters. A lot of the fans want to cheer for a lot of charactersthe way they were cheering for Ronda Rousey in the late 90s. But the reality is, you can have the best and the brightest in the world but if every fan feels they know everything about them from the day they wake up, will they really have the stamina or the energy to put the effort in once that day is done? That’s the dilemma we’re confronting here. And the more time goes on the less true and realistic it looks for us to be. And I know, I don’t take this lying down:
What the hell do you think I am?
I am a product of the ‘UFC to make it on their own’ generation, the first of which I worked with and fought at. I have a few stories that will probably get a lot of people talking and make a lot of people feel better about themselves in the process. But in my personal opinion, you can keep a whole lot more than what you would think.