First let me say I love UFC fights. I’ve been a fan since as long as I can remember and still have fond memories of MMA in general before the UFC became the dominant force it is today. Yet as we move towards more and more PPV events per year it seems the bar is either being set higher than is feasible or we are paying too much for too little.
Let me be blunt. The card for UFC 170 was lack luster at best. The only two fights I personally had interest in were the main and co-main events. Even before that I wasn’t a huge Cormier fan and the LHW division (being so thin) never drew that much attention to me (even though I am a LHW fighter myself). That isn’t to say I didn’t have immense respect for him, just that he wasn’t on my radar in the same way that Ronda Rousey has been.
Rousey vs. McMann was a fight I was definitely looking forward to. On paper McMann looked like an ideal candidate to give Rousey a run for her money, but ultimately the night just didn’t play out that way. In fact it wasn’t even close to a competition.
Back to Cormier. While I hadn’t been a huge fan my money was on him given his credentials… that is of course until the upstart barista, turned UFC Fighter over night, spread his tear jerking (Or was he just jerking us around about the tears?) story regarding his training days with Cormier just before the 2008 Olympic games. Never the less it caught my attention and apparently that of top UFC officials as well.
He seems like a great stand-in for Rashad Evans and even inspired many of us to believe in the Rocky Story once more. Yet again, during the actual fight, we were hugely disappointed. Again, let me be clear. I am disappointed that the Rocky fantasy didn’t play out but I am very happy that Cormier defended his merits and his honor. Taking the sort of PR potshots that Cummins did wasn’t exactly the most excellent sign of grace you sometimes hope to see from top athletes before a fight. But it did make for an exciting story and I am certain it lead to more PPV buys.
So the rest of the card was pretty much a snoozer. Not enough PR was placed behind the other fighters and even then the main event seemed to get less press than the co-main event. So far Ronda has headlined two UFC events and in each of them the Co-Main event left you wanting more. At least when she fought Carmouche you felt like she was in danger from that rear naked choke. People were on the edges of their seats. But with McMann it all happened so fast and ending it with a TKO while McMann was on one knee attempting to get back up just seemed like jumping the gun.
What was most infuriating though was the fact I had just spent $65 for a PPV event that provided approximately 2 minutes of actual fight time I cared about and even then they didn’t end with a bang but with a resounding whimper. To a degree it was like watching a lizard eat a feeder cricket in a cage. Not exactly the most exciting thing to watch. Oh sure for a half second it looks cool but then you’re like, “oh the cricket’s gone”. Well that’s that, right?
Nope, as long as Ronda is at the top and she has no legitimate challengers we will continue to see this again and again. No question she is a fantastic, aggressive and formidable opponent, but really the UFC needs to do some serious recruiting and actually make it seem like their top fighters are working just a bit harder in the ring.
Then there’s Cummins. That was honestly as awful as most of the nay sayers had predicted. I was a convert but now I am just jaded. Between the two judges calls I feel like I was was robbed of $65 dollars. (I try not to think of the fact I also have to account for the cost of each of my team members who covered the event and paying out their PPV costs as well.)
In short, I would just like to say. Dear UFC, please give us something to not only be excited about leading up to the fight, but give us a fight that is worth watching. Give us back excitement. Make it something that keeps us on the edges of our seats like so many fights before have done. $65 bucks is relatively little in the grande scheme but given the majority of feedback I’ve seen on our social channels I would be genuinely concerned about the ability of the UFC to maintain it’s fan base if these sorts of matches continue to pollute PPV cards.
I do also believe the name “Bellator” was mentioned more than once in a very positive light over all these discussions. If I were a UFC executive I would be more than a little concerned. Once you’ve lost a fan, it’s very hard and almost impossible to ever get them back. I hope they do take this as constructive criticism. I know they have the talent, they just need to tweak a few things to bring back the excitement.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!