Meltzer: Why Jones vs. Silva is good for MMA

Sunday, October 28, 2012

That’s why I’ve been amused all week by the horror about the planned Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight, particularly the line that it is bad for the sport. There are fans who don’t like it. Fans have the prerogative to like and not like what they want. They don’t even need a valid season. People will hate Cruz vs. Barao because of their size, or simply because they have no idea who Barao is and don’t care. There will be people who hate that Sonnen is getting a title shot in a division he hasn’t fought in for years, and coming off a loss at a lighter weight class.

Fans have a right to support whatever they want. If they aren’t intrigued by the fight, they don’t have to buy it. But bad for the sport?

This is an old argument, but people need to come to grips with what is bad for the sport. What is bad is when nobody cares, when the sport is not covered, and when people outside the MMA core fan base are barely aware it exists. That’s bad. Bad ratings. Bad pay-per-view numbers. Television loses interest in promoting it past the fringe sport level. All bad.

Unless something changes, Cruz and Barao are not going to be all over ESPN. Joe Sixpack Monday Night Football Fan who may watch two or three UFC shows per year and make the difference when shows do more than 700,000 buys, may not even know who Cruz is, and almost surely doesn’t know Barao.

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