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MMA Monopoly

Since absorbing Pride FC, the UFC has been the alpha dog of MMA promotions. It’s war chest of bankable stars leaves smaller promotions to pick through fighters cut from their roster or, even more challenging, build careers from the ground up. The UFC’s dominance raises the question of whether increased competition would be better for the sport. Fighters like Dan Henderson have taken a strong stance on behalf of the smaller fighting promotions, arguing that athletes deserve a choice in where to compete.

The truth is that MMA, like all mainstream sports, needs a single, dominating organization. Big fights cannot happen if the superstars are spread thin among several mediocre leagues. A lopsided model is in place for every other mainstream sport ( NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB), wherein the fighters start out in lower leagues with the hope of getting drafted into the elite level. For MMA, the small promotions like Bellator, Dream and Strikeforce are there to filter the talent pool.

While competing organizations add strength to the fighter’s side of negotiations, the real deciding factor in that situation is star power. Every promotion is under pressure to get big names on the cards, and fighters are paid according to their affect on people paying attention. For example, Brock Lesnar walked into the UFC as one of the highest paid fighters because he had already helped sell WWE events for years. Furthermore, the strongest organization will be able to manage the biggest payroll. Therefore having rival leagues will only help the very top fighters get a slightly higher pay boost, and likely hurt up-and-comers trying to squeeze more out of their contract.

It’s true that two high profile fighters snubbed the UFC in 2009 in favor of Strikeforce, but it’s hard to see what good it did them or the sport. We can only speculate what Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko were offered by either side, but subsequent comments suggest that neither decision was based on money. Emalienenko was unwavering in his desire to have the M1 brand co-promote, and Henderson was upset that he was snubbed for a title shot in favor of Vitor Belfort, who he defeated in 2006. Neither fighter will likely receive significantly more money at Strikeforce, rather, they satisfied more personal goals. Also, now they are stuck in a promotion where the only challenging fight is each other.

Nevertheless, it could be argued that the UFC is not necessarily the future of MMA. As WEC is also owned by Zuffa, and Bellator and Dream are still trying to take off, that leaves Strikeforce with the best chance to take over. At first glance, their deal to air events on CBS seems like money in the bank, but it comes lot of problems. MMA, like boxing, thrives in the realm of pay-per-view for a reason. Commercial interruption either sucks the excitement out of individual fights or places agonizing breaks between them. Furthermore, the real audience for MMA is not prime time couch potatoes but crowds at pubs and barbecues. Nevermind Dana White griping about the losers who steal UFC over the internet, fights are meant to be watched with beer and friends.

Finally, Strikeforce must be second-fiddle because the roster is bordering theoretical. Their contracts allow champions excessive leniency with regards to defending their title–see heavyweight champ Allister Overeem prancing around Japan for the last two years. A championship belt is meaningless when a fighter can take off, lose in the same weight class and return as a champion. Hollow titles, combined with the weaker talent pool, ensure that even with a free show every month, Strikeforce does not belong on top.

The number of superstars in combat sports will always be limited. A huge part of MMA’s continuing success is that fights are arranged by a company matchmaker, based on what fans are interested in seeing. Compare that to boxing where quarreling egos and minor details in the contracts prevent a lot of interesting bouts from ever happening. Top pound-for-pound fighters should not be in a position where they fight “tomato cans” and pad their records.

Smaller MMA leagues have an important role; they streamline the waves of incoming talent and offer a chance for fighters to re-focus and rebuild their careers after a bad run. But even if the UFC falls from its throne, the MMA world cannot be equally divided. While the nature of the sport allows every fight potential to be exciting, there’s no denying the disparity in talent among competitors. Die-hard fans may be willing to sit through anything resembling full-contact martial arts, but casual fans keep the lights on, and they need to recognize the men beneath the bruises.

35 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    I think at this point if the UFC fails, the sport of MMA in the USA will fail… simply because they are the force behind it.

    If hell froze over and the NFL went bankrupt is the CFL going to jump right into it’s shoes? I Think not.

  • newyorkmcgee says:

    I think you are missing a huge part of the equation.

    Yes, MMA needs one major sanctioning body, just like the other sports you mentioned. Could that sanctioning body be the UFC? No.

    Each time this argument is made people are quick to make the equation of UFC=NFL or MLB, etc. While in actuality the equation is UFC= the Green Bay Packers or the New York Yankees. The UFC is a team not a league. If Derek Jeter doesnt like his contract, he has other teams he can go to, and still compete on the proper level, If Dan Henderson doesnt like his contract offer from the ufc, he has to make a moral stand and take less money, and fight what alot of people consider lesser talent, in a smaller org.

    The UFC doesnt play well with others, doesnt want to play with others at all. They want to rule an industry with an iron fist. Keep fighter pay low and profits high. It’s in their best interest for fighters to have no place else to go. It’s in their best interest to squash the competition.

    Anyone who considers themselves a fan of the sport of MMA should support any other competitor to the UFC who put on great, competitive, professional shows on on a consistent basis. All fans should clamor to see the best fight the best no matter what promotion they are signed to.

    It starts with cross-promotion (the world series being the independent american league vs the independent national league, the superbowl being the NFC vs. AFC) and ends with the formation of a professional sports league (MLB organizing and governing both leagues, the formation of the NFL, etc.) The UFC has no interest in co-promoting, no super cage showdows, no governing body telling them what to do, no fighters union. They arent interested in growing and supporting the sport of Mixed martial arts…they are only interested in growing and supporting the BUSINESS of the UFC.

    But im just one fan…what do i know…

  • baldguy80 says:

    Rece Rock: I think at this point if the UFC fails, the sport of MMA in the USA will fail… simply because they are the force behind it.
    Ifhell froze over and the NFL went bankrupt is the CFL going to jump right into it’s shoes? I Think not.  

    Not that I think the UFC is going to fail anytime soon, but if they did, surely MMA in the USA wouldn’t fail as well. You’d just have the cream of the talent crop looking for a new place to compete, and I’m guessing that Scott Coker would have open arms! You’d still be watching MMA, Rece Rock, as would I and everyone else here. We’d just be watching freebies on CBS instead of UFC on pay-per-view…

    Great article Christopher!

    (For all my fellow Canucks, go CFL!!)

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Look what happened when affliction went down, the best fighters got signed very quickly, and the middle guys also got picked up fairley quickly. And we got to see good fights throughout the whole ordeal. With MMA being as popular as it is now in the US I dont think any one orginization failing would hurt the sport, but just bring more attention to it.

  • Rece Rock says:

    baldguy80 & fanoftna33 :

    the reason guys got signed very quickly or would get signed very quickly is because of an ability to pay them… do you really think SF or anybody else could handle the UFC/ WEC’s payroll? I think not.

  • “Henderson was upset that he was snubbed for a title shot in favor of Vitor Belfort”

    Hendo was crying that Belfort hadn’t even fought at 185 in the UFC but he has no problem walking into Strikeforce and getting an immediate title shot against Shields. Good riddance to him; he’s fighting on borrowed time and isn’t worth the money he was asking for.

    As for a Zuffa-dominated marketplace, Dana and Lorenzo have shown us that they can be great to the fighters (the Stout/Nover and Karo/Hazelett situations) but have also shwn us that they can be bullies (the Jon Fitch/video game situation and Frank Shamrock’s and Tito’s absence from the Top 100 fights). We can only hope that the balance teeters more towards the former than the latter in the future.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i think we also have to remember, and this is based on personal opinion but i know a lot of people agree with me, that last year the smaller promotions were equal too and often bettered UFC ppv cards in terms of entertainment. they wouldnt have been watched by as many people which means a lot of folks will think i’m talking shit. but i lost count how many times last year i finished watching a UFC ppv and felt let down or dissatisfied, while how many times did i finish watching a WVR, Dream, Strikeforce, WEC, Affliction, Bellator, M1 Challenge, and think fuck me that was a fucking excellent show

  • Joseph says:

    Your first mistake was to compare team and league sports to MMA. MMA is an individual sport, and on top of that, it is a combat sports. Sports that deal with individuals like racing, golf, boxing, tennis, etc thrive on multiple venues, tournaments, and GP’s. There can be one sanctioning body, but there doesn’t need to be just ONE promotion holding all the best fighters. In fact, it is impossible to believe that only one promotion can hold all the best. There will always be limitations of the roster size, how much money they can pay fighters, and god forbid that a fighter gets on their bad side. Would you be happy of all internet websites were owned by one group? If you get fired from them, you will be unemployed and writing for free in some blog. Competition is good for the sport and for fighters, specially in the infancy stage that MMA is in. Lets not forget that MMA is a world wide sport, so there will always be great fighters coming up from all over the world and promoters willing to start their own regional promotions to give fighters a place to fight, but at the same time being able to make some money.

  • OMNIpotus says:

    I am very happy there are options for fighters other than the UFC. If the UFC was the only option, Robbie Lawlor and Scott Smith would not have careers. Seeing these guys, who have obvious skill and heart, be able to make money for themselves and their families by doing what they love makes me happy. I’m glad Strikeforce exists and is under seemingly good management. I’m also happy that the UFC has a virtual monopoly. If the UFC bought Strikeforce somehow, I would be very sad unless they converted WEC to be more than just feather and lights.

  • Scott H. says:

    newyorkmcgee: Each time this argument is made people are quick to make the equation of UFC=NFL or MLB, etc. While in actuality the equation is UFC= the Green Bay Packers or the New York Yankees. The UFC is a team not a league. If Derek Jeter doesnt like his contract, he has other teams he can go to, and still compete on the proper level, If Dan Henderson doesnt like his contract offer from the ufc, he has to make a moral stand and take less money, and fight what alot of people consider lesser talent, in a smaller org.

    Maybe I’m not understanding, but you seem to be making an arguement, and then proving yourself wrong. If the UFC=Green Bay Packers, the Dan Henderson could go to any other team and get the same or better money. The UFC is closer to the NFL, in that fighters only have options in lesser organisations.

    The other argument I see alot here is that the UFC’s PPV model is Bad, and Strikeforces CBS model is good.

    Let’s be honest, the only reason Strikeforce is not oon PPV yet is they don’t think they have enough exposure to do so. If they continue to grow in popularity, they will shift over to PPV as well. The CBS deal is also not a given… unless the ratings go up, I don’t think we’ll get more then another one or two shows. While I don’t know the details of the Showtime contract, I doubt there is enough money there to keep Strikeforce in the black. This is a make or break year for Strikeforce.

    Why all the UFC hate… their contracts are no more restrictive then any other major sport… ask an NFL player how open his contract is. If the PPV looks good, buy it. If it doesn’t, no one is forcing you to.

    Me, I like UFC, I like WEC, I like Strikeforce… sure the UFC is the bigest and best, but we don’t have to pick sides, I hope everyone does well.

  • Snoop Dogg says:

    Yes, MMA needs one major sanctioning body, just like the other sports you mentioned. Could that sanctioning body be the UFC? No.

    Each time this argument is made people are quick to make the equation of UFC=NFL or MLB, etc. While in actuality the equation is UFC= the Green Bay Packers or the New York Yankees. The UFC is a team not a league. If Derek Jeter doesnt like his contract, he has other teams he can go to, and still compete on the proper level, If Dan Henderson doesnt like his contract offer from the ufc, he has to make a moral stand and take less money, and fight what alot of people consider lesser talent, in a smaller org.

    Here is where you are wrong. The UFC is like the NFL. Extreme Couture or AKA is like the Green Bay Packers or the Yankees. A fighter switching camps is like a fighter switching teams. In each camp there is a different manager that deals with the UFC. Some managers can get better deals than others.

  • Kuch says:

    Having multiple promoters each signing their stable of fighters (like the major sports teams) only works if they all agree to let their fighters fight in inter-promotional events or there are scheduled events they are compelled to compete in. The likelihood of this ever happening is next to zero. There is no upside to a successful promotion helping a less successful promoter, especially when other promoters represent their direct competition. Unless all collective bargaining was removed from the equation and fighters were all paid the same wage regardless of their success or popularity, fighters will almost always go where the money is the best. Why do you think almost everyone wants to fight for the UFC? Are you going to impose salary caps on promotions? Or will the UFC be the Yankees and more or less dominate for decades? There is more to all of this than just saying the UFC should fail (or be the ONLY promotion).

  • KRS 27 says:

    Scott H.:
    Maybe I’m not understanding, but you seem to be making an arguement, and then proving yourself wrong.If the UFC=Green Bay Packers, the Dan Henderson could go to any other team and get the same or better money.The UFC is closer to the NFL, in that fighters only have options in lesser organisations.The other argument I see alot here is that the UFC’s PPV model is Bad, and Strikeforces CBS model is good.Let’s be honest, the only reason Strikeforce is not oon PPV yet is they don’t think they have enough exposure to do so.If they continue to grow in popularity, they will shift over to PPV as well.The CBS deal is also not a given… unless the ratings go up, I don’t think we’ll get more then another one or two shows.While I don’t know the details of the Showtime contract, I doubt there is enough money there to keep Strikeforce in the black.This is a make or break year for Strikeforce.Why all the UFC hate… their contracts are no more restrictive then any other major sport… ask an NFL player how open his contract is.If the PPV looks good, buy it.If it doesn’t, no one is forcing you to.
    Me, I like UFC, I like WEC, I like Strikeforce… sure the UFC is the bigest and best, but we don’t have to pick sides, I hope everyone does well.  

    Sorry, but the reason SF isnt on PPV is cause they dont have big fights.

    They have a few fights, but honestly, look at the current state of SF.

    HW champ hasnt fought in two years, assume Fedor wins, if Overeem wont fight, then what? Maybe you sign Josh Barnett, ok good fight, or even if Overeem does fight, thats a pretty big fight for them, again, then what? And Fedors deal is up after two fights, Werdum and someone else, and the UFC will be looking heavy at him, since all the guys he should be fighting, Brock, Carwin, Cain, Nogs, JDS, Mir are all in the UFC.

    LHW

    Mousasi vs ? They have to rush King MO, after him, they have nobody, Hendo should be fighting Mousasi but is fighting at MW. So what depth do they have at LHW?

    MW they have Jake/Hendo fight, figure Jacare gets winner, then what? Le lost, Smith is a UFC reject, Lawler isnt much, Manhoeff isnt a real MMA fighter

    WW has Diaz/Maruis, with Riggs/Hieron in the waiting, real deep div. Tyron Woodley is a diamond in the rough, but that div is weak.

    LW has Punk, Gilbert, Shaolin, Noons, and then some other lesser fighters, they could bring in Aoki and dream guys.

    So tell me, with the lack of depth in each div, and with Jake, Fedor and even Mousasi with contracts that will end this year probably and the UFC could want all of them.

    What fights are big PPV fights?

    I mean I see maybe 2 fights in each div, most not even that big, so then what?

    Lack of depth is why they arent on PPV, cause who would buy it?

  • TURKISH says:

    OMNIpotus: I am very happy there are options for fighters other than the UFC.If the UFC was the only option, Robbie Lawlor and Scott Smith would not have careers.

    That’s a completely asinine statement.

    As far as Taylor’s article. What point are you trying to make exactly when you say Strikeforce doesn’t deserve to be at the top? Who the hell thinks they’re at the top?
    Zuffa has owned the UFC for what 8 or 9 years now.
    Strikeforce made the tv deals with Showtime and CBS after purchasing Pro Elite’s assets less than a year ago. Not exactly a time frame that would put the 2 organizations on even par.
    UFC events have always been on PPV so people have always been accustomed to have to fork over money to watch their bigger events.
    Trying to convince people all of a sudden they should pay PPV money for fights they’ve been getting for free is quite a chore. Something Strikeforce has yet to tackle but eventually will have to if they want to continue bringing in fighters like Fedor and Hendo.

    I will give them credit for tremendous growth in less than a year they went from having Bang Ludwig and Sam Morgan main event a card on HDNet to having Fedor in a main event on CBS.

    For some reason it seems like certain UFC fans instead of giving credit to other promotions for a great event or fight they first have to say well they’re not as big as the UFC. Well yeah no shit.

  • king mah mah says:

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I always find myself rooting for the smaller organizations to be successful. I was cheering for and ordered Affliction’s shows. I have ordered King of the Cage on demand. I even ordered that Yamma event that featured Butterbean and Pedro Rizzo way back. I pretty much will order whatever is on PPV or on demand if I can float the bill that month.

    So do I support Strikeforce and wish them well? Absolutely. Will I still order UFC and enjoy that as well? You better believe it!

  • king mah mah says:

    My bad, not Pedro Rizzo, Ricco Rodriguez.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    great read

  • baldguy80 says:

    king mah mah: Don’t know about anyone else, but I always find myself rooting for the smaller organizations to be successful. I was cheering for and ordered Affliction’s shows. I have ordered King of the Cage on demand. I even ordered that Yamma event that featured Butterbean and Pedro Rizzo way back. I pretty much will order whatever is on PPV or on demand if I can float the bill that month.
    So do I support Strikeforce and wish them well? Absolutely. Will I still order UFC and enjoy that as well? You better believe it!  

    I think we should all hang out at King Mah Mah’s place! Sounds like there’s always something good to watch when he’s got the remote control!

    Seriously though, it’s about MMA, not a specific promotion! So we’ve all benefited from watching great match-ups and we’ll continue to do so as fighters migrate through promotions. Maybe we’re not going to see Fedor vs “Vanilla Gorilla” Lesnar next Tuesday, but they’ve GOTTA end up in the same promotion at some point..

    More promotions = more fights!

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m about to make a comparison that will probably piss of all of the purists, but here it goes. \

    I think the best comparison is actually equating the UFC to the WWE and StrikeForce to the WCW.

    Think back to those companies heydays. When both were owned by separate corporations and
    having their Monday night ratings wars, professional wrestling was growing at a staggering rate. Shortly after the WWE acquired the WCW ratings started to slip and profits started tanking. And the reason is fairly simple.
    Once there was no real competition for the WWE, they no longer had to worry about the cards they put on or the “storylines” they promoted (I know the storylines in the UFC are usually much more legit than the ones in professional wrestling) and the end product just wasn’t as good or as exciting. Sure there are still some stars and some cards people pay to see, but nothing like they used to.
    I think if the UFC went under, SF would definitely pick up a lot of the slack, but they just can’t afford to keep the stable of fighters the UFC currently has. They would still be able to put on amazing shows, they manage to do that pretty well as it is, but I’m not sure MMA would continue the rise it’s currently on.

    I know people are saying the UFC would never cross promote, but that’s the exact same thing that was said about the AFC/NFC, AL/NL and ABA/NBA. People tend to forget that in all major North American sports other than NASCAR, there was at least one major competitor that they have since merged/partnered with and that competition and then cooperation is what made them so successful today.

    MMA is only in it’s infancy here in the US, give it some time.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Holy shit Dufresne
    that was damn well put. thats they way i see it but could not have put any better with the comparison.
    no bull shit

  • moosebaby02 says:

    if you really just think about it

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “The truth is that MMA, like all mainstream sports, needs a single, dominating organization. Big fights cannot happen if the superstars are spread thin among several mediocre leagues. A lopsided model is in place for every other mainstream sport ( NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB),”

    You have listed USA team sports where a league is required as they play 1, 2 or 3 time per week and have a need to play other teams. Where as Boxing, Kick boxing Tennis, Golf etc are examples where the participant decides where he goes, when, how, within reason. A company does not dictate to them any where near as much as the UFC does to its fighters. By the way North America is not the world! F#CK. The biggest team sport in the world is football (soocer) and it has at least 3 or perhaps 4 super power leagues in England, Spain, Italy and perhaps Germany would come 4th and not only do they have the Chamions league where the best teams from all European leagues compete they have internationals, world cups etc etc.

    “It’s true that two high profile fighters snubbed the UFC in 2009 in favor of Strikeforce, but it’s hard to see what good it did them or the sport.”

    Yeah they did it just to spite Dana or maybe they did it because…I don’t know, IT DID BENIFIT THEM!!!!!! do you think they are grown men or not? they obviously did it for a reason. Money and freedom are big factors dude. You can add Jacre, Aoki, Mousasi, Diaz, Arlovski, Sylvia and many many others to that list of people that chose to go where they BENIFITED the most in their opinion not yours.

    “Henderson was upset that he was snubbed for a title shot in favor of Vitor Belfort, who he defeated in 2006.”

    And for money, respect, freedom, main events and god knows what else!!!.

    “Compare that to boxing where quarreling egos and minor details in the contracts prevent a lot of interesting bouts from ever happening”

    Fedor vs Couture, Evans vs Jardine, Ortiz vs Lidell 1 and any team mates in the UFC. These fights are or were prevented from taking place as well as any, I mean any UFC vs non- UFC fight.

    “Also, now they are stuck in a promotion where the only challenging fight is each other”

    Yeah Jacre, Lindland, Mousasi, Villasenor, Lawler, Le, Smith, Shamrock, Sakuraba, Sheilds, Diaz, Filho are not good fighters or at HW Arlovski, Big Foot, Rogers, Sylvia, Overeem, Werdum, Aleks, Fedor, Hunt, Kharitonov and perhaps even Barnett, Monson, Rizzo and the K1 boys.

    “Hollow titles, combined with the weaker talent pool, ensure that even with a free show every month, Strikeforce does not belong on top.”

    No not yet, maybe they never will be but I don’t think they claim to be do they? and poor talent pools? If Dream, Strikeforce, WVR and M1keep co promoting…
    LW= Aoki, Sakurai, Hirota, Thomson, Alverez, Melendez, Kawajiri, Hansen, Ishida, Huerta.
    MW=Le, Smith, Jacre, Santiago, Lindland, Sakuraba, Shamrock, Villasenor, Sheilds, Hendo, Mayhem, Lawler.
    HW= Fedor, Aleks, Big Foot, Barnett, Kharitonov, Rogers, Hunt, Werdum, Lashley, Arlovski and perhaps Sylvia, Monson, Rizzo, Baby Fedor, Pudganowski and the K1 or M1 dudes. They have limited options with WW and LHW but even there they have a growing roster.

    “Top pound-for-pound fighters should not be in a position where they fight “tomato cans” and pad their records.”

    Like Carwin you mean. Or perhaps you mean Valasquez who has never faced a top 10er either or Herring who has only defeated 1 top 20 5-6 years or Kongo who’s only claim to fame is defeating a very poor Crocop. It happens in the UFC too buddy. What about Kimbo? Baroni? Houston? Yvel (Pride 2-6)?

    ” Die-hard fans may be willing to sit through anything resembling full-contact martial arts, but casual fans keep the lights on, and they need to recognize the men beneath the bruises.”

    I don’t know dude I think you got this backwards. Casual fans just love to watch Kimbo and Baroni and in my opinion they are not even top 50 guys in their weight classes. Die hard fans want to see top flight guys I would have thought.

    In my opinion MMA requires 2 things

    1) Figther freedom. How many other sports can you name where it is not possible to compete against the worlds best for some participants (ie in UFC and not in UFC like Lesnar vs Fedor). I can’t think of any. Even MLB, NHL, NBA, EPL etc have internationals, olympics , world cups, inter league champions tropheys or all star games. Fighters in the UFC can not fight any fighter outside of the UFC until their contract with the UFC is up, full stop.
    2) Dana White steps back a little. He insults fighters, he acts imature by swearing and and throwing little hissy fits and divides the MMA comunity. If the UFC is to become the only super power (which wont happen) in MMA I think he will have to step aside, at least a little. Don’t get me wrong I don’t care if he swears but it is not the way a sporting codes rep should act ie. every other sporting code rep I know of.

    Is this the bizzaro world because you are the anti me. Since MMA began to take off back in the 90s we have had UFC, Pride, Affliction, IFC, WEC, Dream, K1 Heros, Pancrase, Rings, Bellator, Cage Rage, M1, King of the cage, Strikeforce, Elite XC etc etc and I have never seen any evidence that the UFC is going to become the 1 and only yet. Over the last few years top fighters such as Fedor, Diaz, Jacre, Aoki, Overeem, Werdum, Sylvia, Lawler, Sheilds, Hansen, Thomson, Alverez, Lindland, Hendo, Barnett, Couture, Coleman, Rizzo, Monson, Buetello, Penn, Arlovski, Mayhem, Leites, Lutter etc have either left the UFC, tried to, been cut or refused UFC contracts. Some have returned but I don’t see any indication that the UFC will be a league that has all of the top talent. If any thing it is losing top fighters in my opinion. Tell me do any other fight sports have 1 comany dominating with exclusive contracts vwher it is not possible to fight all top fighters.
    ey are.
    P.S. Turkish I love your work.

  • newyorkmcgee says:

    Scott H.:
    Maybe I’m not understanding, but you seem to be making an arguement, and then proving yourself wrong.If the UFC=Green Bay Packers, the Dan Henderson could go to any other team and get the same or better money.The UFC is closer to the NFL, in that fighters only have options in lesser organisations.

    Maybe i wasnt entirely clear. Lets say Green Bay packers tight end Dan Henderson gets to the end of his contract. The Packers offer him a lowball contract that he doesnt find fair. He shops around and gets a good deal from the new york jets. The point is HE WILL STILL BE PLAYING IN THE NFL. The ufc offers him, what he considers, a bad offer that he doesnt like and basically its take it or leave it. His only choice is to go to what some people consider the “minors” of strikeforce.

    Im thinking of a system similar to the english football system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_football_league_system)…where all fighters from all promotions have the ability to fight one another…the UFC would be the premiere league of course, having the biggest wallets and best tv distribution. A solid method of ranking would be needed, in addition to just matchmaking. Each promotion would still control their own broadcasts. A strikeforce fighter who is ranked lower than a fighter in the ufc have a match…since the ufc fighter is higher ranked, the ufc promotes the fight, etc.

    The new league would also have to recognize a MMA Fighters association. There would HAVE to be fight minimums…just like all professional sports have league minimums, and then win purses, and then bonuses. How many times do we read about a card we’ve just watched and that amazing fight that stole the show and read that the 2 participants got a total of $10k to split?

    1 belt for each weight class. When Fedor faces brock and wins…the belt goes to strikeforce…imagine that…imagine the turmoil and the interest and the craziness…and the fun. If someone from dream takes the WORLD Middleweight belt back to japan…it would seriously be a world wide sport. All of a sudden Dream would be able to draw big money on a ppv when the belt is defended…probably from a ufc competitor, and their roster of talent gets exposure from said ppv and they continue to grow, etc…it would be exponential growth all around…there would be more than enough money for everyone.

    If the ufc was honestly and truly interested in promoting the sport of MMA something like this would be attempted. The ufc is simply interested in promoting and expanding their BRAND…and there is nothing at all wrong with that. I will never say a company shouldnt try to make money and be the biggest and the best in their field…i just think its disingenuous to say “we are interested in making this the best sport in the world” while clearly thats not the case.

  • mu_shin says:

    McGee: Interesting ideas, but we’re living in a competitive business environment, not a combat sports utopia. Zuffa rules the roost because they have put together the most profitable business model in the MMA world, and unless or until a competitive promotion finds a more profitable way to promote this sport, White and the Fertitas will continue to do so.

    Dana White has consistently said to whoever would listen that he believes MMA can be the biggest spectator sport in the world, and that the goal of the UFC as a company is to promote that reality. Seems to me that its disingenuous to believe that if the UFC is the most successful, most recognized brand in MMA, and the trend toward international expansion (England, Ireland, Australia, Abu Dabi, maybe Germany) continues, that MMA as whole in some way suffers.

  • newyorkmcgee says:

    Mu_shin…i agree with most everything you said.

    I wouldnt say the ufc being the most successful, most recognized brand in the world of mma causes the sport as a whole to suffer…im saying their non stop desire to be number 1 and crush everyone else out of business doesnt exactly help the overall sport excel.

    The UFC will always be the UFC, they will always nurture their business first, the sport second. Again…this is how a business works and i accept that.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    newyorkmcgee
    the UFC is not out to crush everyone else out of business only the ones who cross them. remember
    once that Dana helf Croker in high regard until he got the one that got away. trust Dana loves the smaller promotions. where else is he going to find the next up and comer??? is some back ally? (no he didnt find kimbo he just signed him)
    holy shit Logic that was a long read. i agree with some but not all but still a damn good read

  • Dufresne: I’m about to make a comparison that will probably piss of all of the purists, but here it goes. \I think the best comparison is actually equating the UFC to the WWE and StrikeForce to the WCW.
      (Quote)

    The pro wrestling analogy, that’s used by SO many people, is flawed. It assumes that WCW popped out of the ground in 1996 and instantly began competing with the WWF(E). WCW was around, just in name, since the late ’80s. Nevermind the rich history from the NWA which goes back decades.

    It also fails to realize that pro wrestling operates on a boom/bust cycle. It’ll get huge and then seeminly die. Then it’ll get huge again only to once again die off. Lather, rinse, repeat. The reason WCW did so well when it did was because people recognized their big stars (Hogan, Savage, etc.) from the last boom period.

    Guess what? TNA is following WCW’s plan almost to a tee (hiring old WWE stars) and both companies’ ratings and creative direction are still deader than disco.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Tna (as in my login name) is copying wcw almost to a tee right now, but hopefully the guys in charge learned a thing or two about how bad they F ed up wcw and can acually make the company( and tna does have much better wrestling than wwe right now) a strong 2nd place. Great post though sergio.

  • fanoftna33: Tna (as in my login name) is copying wcw almost to a tee right now, but hopefully the guys in charge learned a thing or two about how bad they F ed up wcw and can acually make the company( and tna does have much better wrestling than wwe right now) a strong 2nd place. Great post though sergio.  (Quote)

    Man, TNA was so hot in ’05… it’s a shame how far they’ve fallen. Hiring Hogan doesn’t give me any confidence, though.

    If there was any period in MMA that had a Monday Night Wars-esque scenerio, it was when Pride was still alive. Both companies had a solid stable of fighters, had great success, and had both at the same time.

    Unfortunately, MMA doesn’t, and can’t, have a Hogan or a Stone Cold. These guys wrestled long past their prime and were still cash cows because of the inherent nature of wrestling: it’s predetermined. Should Liddell fight Tito and then jump to Strikeforce, they’ll get a quick shot in the arm and tons of press. But they can’t book Liddell to win like WCW did Hogan and once Liddell faces a Mousasi or a King Mo, all that fanfare comes to a dead stop.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    TNA was much better before they started hiring the old guard again( Nash, Foley, Hall, Sting, Booker t , Steiner etc..) As much as I loved thoes guys they just shouldnt be competing and winning against some of the better talent they have.
    The Pride /UFC wars were great and we even got to see them mix it up a little with Liddell going to fight in the MWGP, something I doubt the UFC will ever do again and for just reasons as they got burned on that one.
    The UFC mirrored WWE when they bought out Pride as iniatally we got some great match ups, and some very talented fighters but overall we all lost out, by losing one of the two great mma orginizations. We are getting a taste of that competition now with the UFC trying to upstage Strikeforce at every opportunity but your right we will probably never have another rivalry like that again.

  • buryyourduke says:

    baldguy80:
    Not that I think the UFC is going to fail anytime soon, but if they did, surely MMA in the USA wouldn’t fail as well.You’d just have the cream of the talent crop looking for a new place to compete, and I’m guessing that Scott Coker would have open arms!You’d still be watching MMA, Rece Rock, as would I and everyone else here.We’d just be watching freebies on CBS instead of UFC on pay-per-view…Great article Christopher!(For all my fellow Canucks, go CFL!!)  

    The problem is, that in the eyes of the world, if the UFC fails, MMA did fail as a sport. It will no longer be seen as a viable commercial entity. Other organizations would continue to exist, but the UFC’s fall would have catastrophic consequences for the sport. It would be relegated to sub-underground status. It’s all hypothetical anyway. The UFC isn’t going to fail. It’s going to own MMA for as long as MMA is popular.

  • juelz says:

    UFC can be top dog for now, No other promotion has the connections and money as they do. Someone else than Dana should negotiate the contracts with fighters though cause his work in that department pretty much sucks. Dan Henderson belongs in the elite and deserved another shot at Anderson Silva, The thing is that he could still been in the UFC if Dana didn’t act as a wannabe Mafia Don or Dictator.

    Apart from that UFC does a great job with expanding MMA even if they do refer to the sport as UFC, People get exposed to the sport and if they like it they will also find the other alternatives. All “Hardcore” fans was once just regular “casual” fans. But in the future i hope there will be improvement to fighters rights and a fighters union that can support and put pressure on promoters and organizations that misbehave and take advantage of fighters. Also i want to see and end to the exclusive contracts and organizations as the UFC, They should act as promoters only.

  • “Dan Henderson belongs in the elite and deserved another shot at Anderson Silva, The thing is that he could still been in the UFC if Dana didn’t act as a wannabe Mafia Don or Dictator.”

    1) What has Henderson shown you since he fought Silva that makes you think the outcome of a second fight would be any different?

    2) How did Dana act like a wannabe Mafia Don or dictator by not paying an amount he didn’t think Henderson was worth?

  • juelz says:

    “1) What has Henderson shown you since he fought Silva that makes you think the outcome of a second fight would be any different?”

    I Don’t know if the outcome would be that much different, But i think he had a better shot than Marquardt and Belfort. Belfort has a punchers chance with better stand-up and quicker hands but Anderson is pretty much better than him in everything on his feet anyways, Could Belfort submit Anderson? i don’t believe he can. I’ts still an interesting fight though. Hendo would beat both Marquardt and Belfort in my opinion.

    2) How did Dana act like a wannabe Mafia Don or dictator by not paying an amount he didn’t think Henderson was worth? ”

    Do you honestly believe Dana didn’t think Dan was worth the money? They had him as a coach on TUF, He had just knocked out Bisping at one of the UFC’s biggest shows in UFC 100, A Knockout the FANS voted as the best KO of the year… There must have been other things going on also, The fact that Dana acted like a little child afterwards talking alot of shit pretty much proves itself, Putting stupid pictures in his vlog of Dan and saying he didn’t want him, Yeah sure. Banning Clinch Gear in the UFC (!) Dan was worth the money, Dana was just cheap and was trying to bully him into signing a contract like he has done with so many others. I don’t think he got that much of a better deal at Strikeforce to be honest. 250 -350k a fight including bonus at the most. Fedor got a better deal from the UFC, He chose Strikeforce because of Dana.

  • Dufresne says:

    I don’t think he was worth the money. He was asking for somewhere in the range of 500k per fight + win bonuses and he’s not exactly a huge draw for PPV. Say what you want, but the numbers don’t lie. The PPV’s with Dan on the headliner have not sold well, and that’s what determines if you’re worth the big $, not wins.

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