Getting a sale ahead of UFC 200 is probably a good idea
There’s been a good sense that UFC 200 is not going to be the historic event UFC 100 was, but the early flux left casual fans not really even caring though the card now looks decent. The fact that it felt that Conor McGregor was the only viable draw for the ‘big show’ didn’t help. Management has been savvy in downplaying UFC 200’s importance, but since when did a fight sport promotion downplay round numbers?
I just checked the card and was surprised it was stronger than I perceived. Not the main events, but the other fights are solid, or at least have interesting names from the past. I honestly have no idea if they’re still competitive. But kudos to the UFC for recognizing the real problem…
The sense of blah is not a of lack of talent, but a lack of personas.
There’s no longer anyone who “was a (fill in the blank)” and now is trying their hand at MMA. From former Olympian to accountant, the seminal days of the UFC were not just about seeing what techniques and training regimens worked, but stories. In a world where no one knew there was such a thing as a professional MMA fighter, there was always an added dimension to each character.
Fast forward to today, and if you’re below a certain age, you pretty much submit to the grind of a fighter’s life if you’re serious. A bunch of bald/crew-cut, tattooed personality-less robots. Love you GSP, but if you have less on-air personality than him, you’re hard to promote unless you are spectacular, which incidentally often comes from backgrounds other than MMA, whether Muay Thai, catch wrestling, or karate. If you start pure MMA training young, until the new generation of coaches come around, you’re statistically doomed to be a competent, uninteresting fighter in a sea of clones. That’s if you have heart and work hard.
Apart from his incredible instincts at self-promotion, what makes Conor McGregor so compelling is that he behaves differently. Same background story, same hard work, but kind of weird fight camp, weird trainers and story, something other than “he eats well, works hard, and loves his family,” even though that’s also part of his brand.
Oh, and as countless UFC stars have shown, prison doesn’t count for adding to image. Kudos to the UFC for at least giving lip service to condemning genuinely bad behaviour. And yet we have Jon Jones in the title match…
The UFC has always been at the crossroads between pro wrestling and pro boxing. Incidentally, you’d think that would make Brock a great representative, but he takes MMA fighting seriously so has no time for clowning around. As much as I would like MMA to have that martial artist quality to it, stripping it of personality would be even more damaging, accelerating the devolution to stats, boring wins, and flashes in the pan.
That’s the challenge the organization faces after UFC 200, and if you’re looking to cash out, now’s the time.