Dave Meltzer lays out the biggest MMA stories of 2012.
In looking back at 2012, there's little question what the biggest news story is - UFC on FOX.
The UFC moving from Spike as its main television outlet to the FOX family, the FOX network for four big shows, FX for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), live shows, pay-per-view prelims and prime time hype specials as well as Fuel becoming essentially the UFC channel with endless hours of taped and first-run programming is the key story. There are more hours of UFC programming, by far, than ever before. There are more televised events, by far, than ever before.
One of the biggest sports stories in general has been the escalating rights fees that the major sports franchises - the NFL, Major League Baseball, College Football and Basketball and the NBA - have been able to get. Rights are skyrocketing because of the fear the DVR will change programming habits, causing people to watch television at their convenience and most importantly, skip over the commercials.
The feeling is live sports will become king, because of the importance of immediacy that most television doesn't have, and thus, the ads become the most valuable on television. If UFC can establish itself as a near top tier sports franchise and these rights continue to climb, they could be in great position to command more money, perhaps lessening the need to rely so heavily on pay-per-view. Of course, this deal doesn't expire until the end of 2018. The money television is paying sports for rights fees could be a bubble that bursts next year, let alone the situation being the same six years from now. And it's impossible to predict six years down the road where UFC will be.
The next four biggest stories in MMA in 2012 are:
2. The Death of Strikeforce
3. Drug suspensions cost the sport some of its biggest fights.
4. UFC cancels September 1 show in Las Vegas.
5. Fedor Emelianenko retires.
Other major stories:
•Anderson Silva's win over Chael Sonnen is UFC's biggest fight in more than a year.
•Bellator to debut on Thursday nights on Spike TV in January.
•Women's MMA comes to the forefront behind Ronda Rousey.
•Georges St-Pierre survives a scare, with a successful return after major knee surgery.
•Two knee surgeries sideline bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz all year.
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