Here's what they did this week. There were 10,000 Brazilians who had purchased high-priced tickets to see Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch and Rampage Jackson vs. Glover Texeira are instead, for the same price, getting Anderson Silva, Brazil's biggest star coming off his highest profile career win, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Rio de Janeiro's local all-time fighting legend. No, they aren't getting a featherweight title fight, but people buy tickets for star power and in Brazil, they got an upgrade of major proportions without having to pay extra for tickets because the company in this case did a great job of revamping the show.
In the U.S., the fact is, nobody has ordered the pay-per-view yet, so nobody bought the show expecting one thing and is getting another. So nobody has been hurt. For all the complaints, far more people are going to be interested in this show, with Anderson Silva fighting Bonnar, than the original main event. The company in this case was thrown for a loop once with Koch being injured and they replaced him with Edgar, making it a far more attractive fight in every way. Then they lost Aldo vs. Edgar, and are getting Silva. Silva doesn't always draw big, but has at times. Aldo and Edgar have never drawn big. Even if you think Aldo and Edgar is better, and I agree with you, you have the choice to not buy the show if it's not worth it in your eyes.
But for the masses, this is a much more attractive show. When people throw around words like "relevant fight," I get it, because I sort of think the same way. But that's also the snob response who have lost touch with the audience that you need to have to be a viable professional sport.
Relevant to who? People who think UFC should revolve around what they want and forget about what most fans want? There's a simple rule of pay-per-view. A fight is pay-per-view worthy if people will buy it. Is it a mismatch on paper? Yep. It's also a late replacement fight with far more appeal than the original fight, and even more appeal then the first replacement fight. Once you lose your top two fights, the goal should be delivering a new lineup that is at least close to as attractive as the original. In this case, they got one more attractive.
They know Anderson Silva. They know Stephan Bonnar. Erik Koch may be higher on somebody's mythical ratings, but the 95 percent of the audience that has never heard of him will be a whole lot less likely to pluck down their $45 to $55 to see a guy they don't know. In the real world, that's the definition of irrelevant. Frankie Edgar has been awesome to watch. He's beaten guys people thought were better, beaten guys who were bigger, and came back from the brink of destruction twice to retain his title. In reality, he today should be lightweight champion.
You may think it's not fair that more people won't buy a "closer on paper" fight. You're right. The fight business is inherently not very fair.
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