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3/26/12 10:02 PM
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EatonBeever
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The Rise & Problems of Zuffa UFC by EatonBeever

This thread was requested by UG member greco yeoman who wanted my opinion of today's ZUffa UFC. I've decided to give the history of Zuffa & the state of Zuffa UFC as of today. Half is factual based while other half is more subjective. Wrote all this shit myself, so I got a ton of mis-spellings and grammar errors. But I am at the office with all my work done and can't leave for another 2 hours, so I'll go ahead and type this out (and get paid for being on the clock).



The Roots


The roots MMA differ from organization to organization. If we are discussing American MMA roots, then we must go back to 1993 for the UFC 1 event. The idea was to put fighters in an 8 man tournament that represented their particular style. Rorion Gracie (founder of the UFC) was confident that Gracie Jiu Jitsu would beat any of the competition. Royce was Rorion's loyal brother at the time and the contest, in Rorion's mind, was designed to show USA (or the world) that Gracie Jiu Jitsu was the most effective martial art of them all. He tried to show this before with his Gracie JJ in Action 1 and 2 documentaries, but they didn't have the popularity to really give his art exposure. So his design for the UFC tournament would be a bigger platform for Gracie Jiu Jitsu for display to the world about the effectiveness of it. Royce was successful in the first, second & fourth events. The roots was the display of each fighter's style. Now, as the events continued, the fighter who displayed their fighting style became famous. At UFC 3, people were interested in the two top performers of the first event - Royce Gracie & Ken Shamrock. Royce had a legendary battle with Kimo that not put Kimo on the map, but Royce had a war and the fight of his life up until that point. Royce, Ken, Kimo & then Dan Severn made his way into the UFC as the first wrestler. These fighters had their style, but it was the charisma & abilities which made them a word I will refer to alot in this thread - SUPERSTARS. UFC knew that it wasn't really the styles that made people tune in, it was the fighters that represented those styles and martial arts that brought attention to the UFC.


SEG UFC


UFC really followed the route of early UFC's, but evolving the event into more sport-like by adding weight classes and eventually cutting down the tournaments. The great thing about SEG is they still promoted its stars. As more UFC events occured, there was a political outcry that had the ppv outlets cut down on the events. So UFC had to survive by promoting its superstars. Best Fighter on the Planet = Superstar. In order to find the best fighter, UFC would hold smaller 4-man tournaments on a single night by LW & HW at UFc 13. The "Lightweight" name was changed to "Middleweight" the following UFC (13), although both names meant 200-under while HW was 200-and above. Eventually at UFC Japan, the "Middleweight" title was won by Frank Shamrock while the "HW" champion went from Ken Shamrock to Severn to Coleman to Maurice Smith and then to Randy Couture at UFC Japan. Finally at UFC Brazil, they created a LW title which was won by Pat Miletich when he defeated Mikey Burnett. So three basic simple weight classes, which created three champion superstars. Tournaments were still being made during this time to set up new superstars and 'worthy' contenders. UFC SEG even brought in international talent who were successful in other MMA orgnaizations. If they were the best fighters in the world, they were put at the top regardless of what the fans thought. The best fighters were brought on to display their stlyes in early UFC which made things so much fun. While the ppv outlets cut more and more of the events, it was up to the superstars to carry the company. During this time Frank Shamrock was the best fighter on the planet. He was an amazing talent who dominated the competition. He carried UFC and brought fans to seek out the UFC. Each card up and down contained high level of talent. Most of the hardcore fans knew every single fighter on each of the upcoming UFC card such as myself. Each UFC PPV were two-three months apart. This created a lot of hype & anticipation for each UFC card. Each card was filled with people we knew. Was each person the greatest fighter of all time ? No. But we knew each fighter on the card and familiar with his fighting abilities.


3/26/12 10:04 PM
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EatonBeever
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Zuffa purchases the UFC


So UFC went under and two brothers who owned casinos were pitched by their childhood friend, a former boxing gym owner and boxercise instructor, Dana White to purchase the UFC and turn it to profit. The casino owners bought the UFC from SEG in 2001. Zuffa was the name of the company that was owned by Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta III & Blake Satini. It means 'fight or to scrap' in Italian. UFC 30 would be the first event ran by Zuffa UFC. Zuffa wanted to make UFC on the same platform as Boxing. To gain mainstream acceptance, the UFC started to adopt rule changes, weight class changes, follow Nevada Athletic State Commission rules. Their main objective in the beginning was to get back on pay per view & cable and be sanctioned in the state of Nevada.

The sale of the UFC from SEG to ZUFFA was a very ugly episode that foretold how the new owners really operated. Once the cable ban was lifted, SEG tried to get the UFC legitimate in the eyes of the sporting mainstream. The best way to do this was to get sanctioned in Nevada, where Boxing settled in many decades ago. The Nevada State Athletic Commission denied SEG a license to operate there. One of the Commissioner's that voted against SEG was......LORENZO FERTITA. Without sanctioning, SEG UFC was dead in the water, and put up for sale. Immediately Lorenzo Fertita and Mark Keizer resigned as Nevada State Athletic Commissioners.Once Zuffa finalized the purchase of the UFC, the new owners hired Mark Keizer as a consultant. Zuffa UFC then re-applied for sanctioning in Nevada. (Credit: Howard Liu for adding that)

In the beginning of 2001, Zuffa UFC was a good thing. It had a big financial backing. Dana White seemed to be a legit fan of the sport which meant seeing future big fights. And possible mainstream acceptance which meant bigger fight pay. But the best part was it seemed like Pride stars (the better roster) would be fighting in UFC & Pride, two different stages with very different crowds, cage instead of ring, different rules - We seemed to really be able to get a 'mixed' martial arts show that featured all kinds of superstars that we dreamed about.


Dana White interview quote from 2001 right after Zuffa purchased UFC from SEG & Bob Meyrowitz:

"Interviewer: There has been alot of talk that the UFC didn't pay very well. Will that change?
Dana White: Right. That's gonna change. See, that's what we really want to change. We're gonna bring back alot of the fighters that left the UFC for that reason and the other reasons that they were chased away. You have to understand Lorenzo and I. Lorenzo comes from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and what do they do? Their job is to look out for fighters. I was a manager, what was my job? To look out for fighters. So we really want to put alot of emphasis on the fighters. The old UFC's emphasis was the UFC. That was the main thing that they wanted to promote and publicize. We want to create superstars."

Also, Dana White seemed to be excited about bringing together all mma organizations as one. The mma community was small & there werent that many organizations. Bringing together organizations meant that there could be co-promotions and match up dream fights and bring the sport mainstream. You could still have 'bidding wars' over the biggest superstars from each organization and they still could show up in another organization. Things were starting to look up. Here is a quote from the same Dana White interview in 2001:

"The first thing I did when we bought the UFC was call Yukino Kanda from PRIDE. I told her there was always a war between the UFC and PRIDE... I told her the war is over. Our office staff started clapping and cheering when I made that call.Then I called Terry Trebilcock from King of The Cage, Paul Smith from IFC. I talked to Jamie Levin from WEF today. Basically, these guys were all at war with each other and I want to work together. The sport of mixed martial arts is fighting so many other foes, whether it's cable companies or political foes, that we need to stick together and work to further the sport."

With Dana's plans of co-promoting and sharing talent meant the BIG fights. At this time, we were really hoping for Sakuraba vs. Ortiz & Shamrock vs. Sakuraba as well as maybe return of Royce Gracie since he was still active just fighting in May of 2000.

"Dana White: (Smiling really big) ...And my main goal, the main guy I want to get together with. Even if I have to co-promote with PRIDE, and we don't have a problem with co-promoting, they do it in boxing... is Sakuraba.
Interviewer: Will he come here? Because I heard he doesn't like to fight outside Japan.
Dana White: I think he will. I think we can work out a deal with Yukino over at Dream Stage (PRIDE's parent company). Besides, money talks. But, Yukino and PRIDE really want Tito. And we really want Sakuraba. So I don't see why we can't work something out. I enjoy working with PRIDE. I respect them, so I don't see a problem."

"Interviewer: PRIDE has it's fighters and the UFC has theirs. Would you be stealing their thunder by signing the PRIDE's fighters for a UFC event?
Dana White: That's what I don't want. It shouldn't be that way. You see PRIDE's fighters are allowed to fight in the UFC, there's no contract restrictions with PRIDE fighters."

Things seemed to be on the up with the new President, Dana White. It seemed that he was eager to boost up the popularity of mma superstars, thus making them more money. Mainstream acceptance meant MMA could be shown on cable television, thus bigger pay for fighters. He was also willing to work out their conflicts with fellow MMA organizations so they all get on the same page to make money like Boxing does. Boxing for an entire century was the number one combat sport in the world and most profitable. K-1 did well in Japan and a few international outlets, but nothing reached Boxing in terms of revenue and general interests.. Now it was actually possible that MMA could steal the spotlight of Boxing as the number one combat sport in the world.
 
3/26/12 10:05 PM
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EatonBeever
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UFC the Failure


UFC did not make money. They were losing quite a bit of money in their attempts to break mainstream. Dana White's succeeded with their first goal with bringing back UFC to PPV outlets that had once banned them. They had a late night infomercial featuring the 'new rule changes' and 'UFC is now a sport' hosted by a Boxing commentator to show that Boxing & MMA should both be considered on the same level. After three Zuffa UFC events, Zuffa finally got what they wanted, back on PPV. UFC 33 was the first show that extended to cable ppv outlets. The show was a diaster. They tried to introduce the new weight classes, so they had 3 title fights on their first big show. The title fights would still be 5 rounds, a rule which SEG invinted at UFC 21. The 10-point must system was also used in UFC 21 by the 'Council of Mixed Martial Arts Commission'. So three title fights at UFC 33, all went to decision. That meant 15 rounds of no finishes. And to top off the diaster show, the other two fights that were 3 rounds each also went to decision. Which meant, every single fight on the card went to decision.

UFC continued to promote its superstars , mainly Tito Ortiz - their "LHW" champion, to sell ppvs. They didn't advertise the UFC brand name, they advertise their superstars.



Each event had either their LHW champion (Ortiz) or HW champion (Couture) to promote their show. Each event was named a silly catchphrase to emphasis the excitement of each show. "Locked & Loaded". "High Voltage". "Throwdown". Cheesy, but it was fun because you could associate the name to the loaded card.



Zuffa accomplishes a brief appearance on Cable TV


Dana even managed to accomplish another big goal in the early years - Cable Television. Zuffa had managed to create a relationship with Fox sports net. They had a good relationship with the Tom Arnold hosted show "Best Damn Sports Show". They worked out a deal that the show would televise a MMA match in its entirety. althought UFC 37 just happened, UFC 38 was booked - Dana scrambled to put on a last minute event called "As Real as it Gets" - a term that shuts up the skeptics who felt UFC was worked fights. Since UFC had been big on numbered events, it was also labelled "UFC 37.5" , which was the inbetween show of 37 & 38. Dana White still had the formula of superstars selling the show, so he put together a mega dream fight at the time in the main event - Chuck Liddell vs. Vitor Belfort. Fox sports net allowed UFC to broadcast only one fight from the card, so Zuffa picked the most exciting fight - Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger. The event was only a month after the last PPV and Lawler also won last month. They aired the fight on Fox Sports Net & also showed the PPV entire show that had a great fight Liddell vs. Belfort main event. All of us fans at the time were really excited about this.
3/26/12 10:06 PM
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Shanks
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3/26/12 10:09 PM
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3/26/12 10:10 PM
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3/26/12 10:10 PM
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EatonBeever
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Zuffa's First Big Show


Early Zuffa really peaked for the fans at UFC 40. In my opinion, it was one of the greatest UFC events ever. UFC managed to strike a deal with Ken Shamrock, fresh off of his Pride fights to participate in a title fight against the then UFC poster boy & champion - Tito Ortiz. Here's why it was so cool and such a great event. Dana knew UFC 40 would gain a lot of more ppv buys with the return of Ken Shamrock, so he loaded up the card with huge names and superstars. He put Chuck Liddell against Babalu in the co-main event as sort of a 'heres to come' match which meant if Liddell won, he would position himself to face the winner of the main event. This would then give the fans a reason to come back to the ppvs because they would know both fighters (winners from 40). Matt Hughes, the most dominate WW ever, competed against Gil Castillo. Carlos Newton, a huge superstar at the time, woudl face Pete Spratt. Up & comer Robbie Lawler against Tiki Ghosn. Ian Freeman, the man who stopped Frank Mir at UFC 38, would face future HW champ Andrei Arlovski. Undefeated Phillip Miller would compete on the card too. It was a fun card. The main event with Ken & Ortiz actually had a history together. Tito Ortiz was once at war with the Lion's Den (Ken shamrock's training camp) and after Tito beat Guy Mezger, he wore a shirt that said "mezger is my bitch", this sparked a rage from Ken shamrock who was cornering Guy at the time. Ken started to yell at Ortiz after he flipped Guy's corner the bird. The clip was shown over and over to promote Ortiz 'bad boy' image. So there is a real life story involved for the main event. Ken Shamrock was coming off a LOSS to Don Frye in Pride. so 0-1 ken would get a title shot at Ortiz !? How could this be ? Well, back then, we didn't give a fuck about wins or losses. Sure we paid attention, but they didn't hold importance at all. We wanted to see the biggest names fight each other to see who the best fighter in the world was. We wanted the style vs. style matches. Ortiz wrestling vs. Ken's shootfighting. Leader of the Lions Den against the man who beat many of its members. Losing to Frye in Pride simply did not matter to us. I can't recall one single person that said "Now wait a minute guys, Ken is getting a title shot after a loss , this isnt right". The title was just there to signify who was the best. Fuck that title. We wanted Ken vs. Ortiz and we got the dream match !! Seems this Dana fellow was a good guy afterall.... That was until the company continued to lose money...

UFC 40 did 150k buyrate which at the time was the biggest they've seen since the early UFC days that were purchased for 'shock value' or 'brutality' rather than interested in the superstars of the sport. Dana tried to emulate the concept of UFC 40 with the very next show, by bringing back Tank Abbott, a former UFC superstar. Ricco Rodriguez defeated Couture at UFC 39, but Rico Rodriguez wasn't too known and wasn't as a big superstar as Couture, Randleman or Rizzo who dominated the weight class previous to Rico. The buyrate was 60k, thats 90k less than UFC 40.


UFC PPVs Decline


Zuffa was trying very hard at balancing too many things at once to the point where they failed. They wanted:

a) Credible Fighters / Contenders / Champs
b) Fighters who were superstars
c) Obey the rules of the commission
d) exciting fights


Well, you can't have fights that fit each of the criteria. Obeying the commission means no steroids. So you had Josh Barnett beat Randy Couture at UFC 36 and stripped of the title. So they big superstar you've built up is fired. You're trying to build credibility to your HW title, but you lost it when your champ is busted for roids. Barnett fit (a), (b), (d), but couldn't obey (c) and thus UFC was hurt.

Then you have good ole UFC 42. Hughes vs. Sean Sherk. Yes, it was a dream fight for the fans, but these guys were tailor made to wrestle to a decision. Helen Keller could see that fight going to a decision. So you have Sherk who was undefeated with 19 wins against the most dominate WW champ. He was a credible contender (a). But was he a superstar ? No. And I'll tell you exactly why. Zuffa put him on two shows on the undercard where no one saw him. So here is a prelim fighter fighting in the main event. So you can have (a) & (c), but this means you sacrafice (b) & (d). The result = 35k ppv buyrate. Yes, 35 thousand. That is 115 less than UFC 40, two shows previous.

Bottom line, UFC just couldn't juggle all of this. Pride was displaying the most amazing martial arts show of all time, but a 'mixed' show like Pride was more along the lines of a pro wrestling entertaining event (its roots) while UFC wanted to be more along the lines of Boxing (Dana's roots).
3/26/12 10:11 PM
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EatonBeever
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The TUF Era begins in 2005


In mid-2000, reality tv shows were taking off and still extremely big to this day. The Ultimate Fighter was created as an experiment by the Fertitta Brothers. Dana White originally was against TUF idea as he felt UFC wasn't a reality show type of thing. They struck a deal with Spike TV and on Jan of 2005, the first TUF episode aired after the popular WWE Monday Night Raw Wrestling program. They were able to keep 57% of WWE Raw audience which was doubled from the previous time slots used by other programs Spike TV put on. A deal was struck and TUF remained on Spike TV for 6 years. TUF Season Finale 1 was a live MMA event on Spike TV which featured the final contestants of the TUF Season 1 which was Forrest Griffin & Stephan Bonnar on April 9th, 2005. The event also headlined Ken Shamrock vs. Rich Franklin. With Ken Shamrock's name, it attracted viewers. Griffin & Bonnar went into a war which made the season work and gain success. It was one of the best fights of 2005 (just under Hughes vs. Trigg 2 & Rogerio vs. Shogun from Pride).

The Ultimate Fighter show didn't just gain exposure of the fighters that came out of the show, but exposure of the UFC product. With using Spike TV as a form of exposure to the company & using it as a venue to promote its shows and ppvs, UFC finally started to gain big profit. So while UFC TUF was going on, UFC 50 had a 40k ppv buyrate. A month after TUF aired - UFC 51 jumped to 105k. A huge difference in buyrates. The actual show of TUF is controversal among the fans. Fighters are put in a house not allowed to leave and filled with alcohol. Young males in a house with drinking results into portray the fighters as immature. It seems the drama is more in the house than in the cage. The oldschool fans felt embarassed by how the show portrays its fighters. In Season 8, one fighter jerks off in another fighter's food. Other incidents involve feces, urination, arguments & pointless drama. The show is more geared toward a MTV audience than the average sports fan. However the fans view the show, the ratings are the only thing that mattered at the end of the day. And with the exposure of the UFC name brand by using its product in the same fashion of MTV Real World, it causes fans to tune in and get them hooked on the sport or the UFC name brand. Either way, it helped Zuffa UFC reach a new height.


UFC 52


The TUF show has vetern MMA superstars to 'coach' a team of fighters. The first season was Randy Couture & Chuck Liddell. The idea was the finalist battled on Spike TV TUF finale while the coaches would then fight at an upcoming PPV. Couture vs. Liddell II happened featuring the two coaches that the TUF audience became aware of. These two fighters weren't just two guys in a cage - they were superstars to the casual fan thanks to the exposure of them on TUF reality tv show. UFC 52 made an astounding 280 thousand buyrate.

The success of UFC on Spike lead to Spike allowing another live UFC event, this time without a TUF themed show, just a fight card similar to Boxing Fight Night on ESPN 2. This lead to UFC Fight Night on August 6th, 2005 which featured TUF season 1 veterns & the introduction of a talented former King of Pancrase winner, Nate Marquardt in the main event. The fight card ended up being very boring as the last three fights ended in a decision.

Soon, the UFC was changing. Now they had 'superstars' they've created from the TUF show and could put them on PPV for a cheap price. They had name recognition, but didn't have the top rankings to gain big money. They fought for cheap and made Zuffa money because people knew who they were. This created a backlash from the true fans who knew who was legit and who was not. The early TUF did feature pretty decent talent, Leben, Koscheck, Rashad, Bonnar and Forrest Griffin had successful careers and top rankings after their TUF stay. But how many top level guys can you collect for a new season. As the seasons continued, the fighter abilities declined. More & more seasons added more and more names to the point where it was hard to keep up with everyone. UFC ppv buyrates increased. TUF expanded more and more seasons. It seems UFC was becoming mainstream indeed. But what would that mean to the fans ?
3/26/12 10:13 PM
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EatonBeever
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The End of PrideFC - Zuffa attempts to monopolizes the Sport


For years & years, Pride FC has been the most dominate MMA organization that was mainstream in Japan. It gained a lot of profit over the years and contained the best fighters. Regardless of what a few fans might have argued, Pride had the best talent. UFC did contain a great LHW division including Couture, Ortiz, Liddell & eventually got Belfort back in the mix - Pride still had an even bigger LHW division (wanderlei, Arona, Rampage, Ninja, Shogun, Randleman, Vovchanchyn went to 205, Kondo, Henderson, & Sakuraba even fought the bigger guys). While UFC tried to fool its own fans by claiming they had the best fighters, the theory was proven in 2003 when Dana sent his top talent , Chuck Liddell to enter the Pride GP. Liddell was expected to make it to the finals to confront Pride's top LHW - Wanderlei Silva, but Liddell couldn't make it past Pride's number two LHW, Rampage Jackson. Rampage went onto lose to Wanderlei which made it clear that Pride stars were better in that division. Dana also had a problem with his HW division. He didn't have any good ones. All the top HWs were in Pride & that was the division which also historically brought in all the money. The even worse news for Dana was the top guy in the HW division also just happen to be one of the greatest fighters in history of the sport and p4p the king. So it was nearly impossible to overhype his HW fighters as 'the best' when he clearly had a weak division. Andrei Arlovski & Tim Sylvia were always the top two HWs in UFC (Mir was another but was injured in a motorcycle injury that forced him out of the mix). Tim Sylvia was not a great champion, as he had a great record, but wasn't a dominate champ that people were afraid of. The truth is people tuned in just to see who he would lose the belt to. At Pride GP 2003, Dana White made a comment that he might have regretted later. He claimed that UFC fighters are better & he thinks Tim Sylvia could beat Fedor. The fight happened in 2008 and Fedor demolished Tim Sylvia which proved the UFC HW division had weak competition. In 2003, Minotauro who was the number one fighter in the world and HW champion fought number two ranked Fedor Emalienenko. UFC would never get to set up a #1 HW against a #2 HW until 2011 when #1 Cain fought #2 Junior dos Santos, 8 years after Pride.

In 2005, Dana, possibly still upset over the Liddell Pride GP loss, was now breaking his commitment to act as an organization to unify all MMA organizations and seperating his company to become a Federation. With the Pride 2004-2005, great fights and new stars were emerging from Pride. Such fighters that emerged from Shogun, Rogerio, Mark Hunt, Sergei Kharitonov, and Josh Barnett even re-emerged in the HW spotlight. UFC was still climbing popularity in America. At some point in time (and I dont know when) , Dana White felt that he wanted to be number one MMA organization. It seems he got the momentum he wanted to secure his organization as profitable, mainstream acceptance, & control over the number one mma organization in North America & number two in the world. But I don't believe that satisfied him as he had yet another goal he wanted to achieve - total domination as the number one MMA organization on the planet & eventually ONLY organization on the planet.... But in order to do that, Pride must be toppled. And in 2007, that just happened, but not because ZUFFA UFC had a better product or better fighters or even more money for that matter. I could discuss the history of Japan MMA , but I will only briefly cover what happened. Pride's competition was NEVER the UFC. The market for America was something Pride always planned to do later. It wasn't their top priortiy. Pride had a competitor in Japan and it wasn't UFC. It was K-1. K-1 & Pride always had a good relationship throughout the years, but did compete with each other starting in 2003 when K-1 & Pride went head to head on New Years Eve to gain the audience of fight fans. Inoki also put on a show that same evening , but failed to reach the numbers K-1 & Pride did. K-1 ended up being successful and winning the ratings war for the three way match of each event. 2004-2006 , K-1 & Pride competed on New Years Eve as well as trying their best to draw the most numbers. In order to draw numbers / money in, you needed superstars. The biggest superstars were in both organizations, but both organization wanted all the big names. Eventually, Pride had secret ties to the Japanese Mafia in order to secure their main stars to cross over to K-1. The three names were Fedor, Cro Cop & Heath Herring. They were huge names with a large Japanese fan base, so in order to keep them in Pride, they made a deal with the devil. This eventually got out. Once the large TV networks discovered this, they immediately kicked Pride off of their television network. Without Pride having television time, their organization was dead. In 2007, Pride was dying off. Zuffa immediately threw in an offer for one reason - to obtain the top talent's contracts & the use of Pride's video library. With Pride dead, UFC was now the number one MMA organization in the world. And that was not enough....

With UFC obtaining top stars from Pride including Minotauro Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Rampage Jackson, Shogun Rua, Rogerio Nogueira, Mark Coleman - it seemed UFC was now at the top of the mountain. Somewhere, Dana decided it was better business to kill off competition. During 2001-2006, competition for fight fans allowed both organizations to turn up their product by signing big and exciting match ups for their respected cards. Without competition, UFC now could put on watered down cards that did not contain huge & exciting fights up and down the card. With no other organization to challenge the UFC's product, the UFC could now put on anything they wished without any organization challenging them.

3/26/12 10:15 PM
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EatonBeever
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UFC starts wiping out Competition (By design & default)


UFC purchased wEC at the end of 2006, still continuing to run WEC on Versus channel, but eventually dumping WEC after WEC 53. EliteXC obtained a contract with Showtime & CBS. They were able to be the first MMA organization to air a live MMA event on primetime television, something UFC wished they had at the time. Elite XC used a similar tactic that UFC once did when faced against Pride - Overhype a Fighter to convience the audience that this is the best fighter. Kimbo Slice was a youtube sensation who was a large black man who beat people up in the backyard of Miami. He was almost a boogie man. His fame became so large, that a MMA organization paid him enough to fight in their main event against former Boxing champion, Ray Mercer. After Kimbo won by submission, Elite XC was able to convince Kimbo to join their organization to help promote Elite XC.

a) Credible Fighters / Contenders / Champs
b) Fighters who were superstars
c) Obey the rules of the commission
d) exciting fights



Kimbo followed (b) (c) & (d) , but he was not a credible fighter and the hardcore fans knew it. He was a large superstar so he was able to gain attention to his fights. But they went a little too far with the 'superstar' aspect to sell tickets. Elite XC associated superstar Kimbo with 'credibility'. Kimbo was new in the sport and very greem. His ground game & cardio had never been tested. Elite XC put Kimbo vs. James Thompson on a CBS card. The fight gained the most viewers for a MMa fight ever. Kimbo was in trouble in the fight, but the fight was designed for Kimbo to win to keep his 'credibility' as a legit MMA top fighter and the ref seemed to not stop it until James was in trouble and thats what happened. Kimbo had success for the company. Meanwhile, Dana white was going off in the media about how Kimbo sucks and 'belongs in a BBQ backyard fight'. During the Elite XC, UFC put on replays of UFC ppvs to counter the Elite XC competition. Showtime, CBS & Elite XC were all in a unity to promote Kimbo Slice as their superstar and posterboy. This was a mistake that would be their end, because he did not fit (a).

The very next event for Elite XC Kimbo Slice Main event was on October 4th, 2008. It featured Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice. That was a fight that generated a large amount of interest for every casual fan & hardcore fan. It was a freak show fight, but a fun one. And if a fight contains a combination of these:

a) Credible Fighters / Contenders / Champs
b) Fighters who were superstars
c) Obey the rules of the commission
d) exciting fights

Which a freak show emphaizes on B & D - EXCITING FIGHT ! Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo was a big deal. Before the main event, Ken Shamrock injured himself backstage. Elite XC would have to switch the card around and throw Seth Petruzelli in the main event instead of his previous oppoennt, Aarona Rosa. Seth was a TUF season 2 vetern who was known to all the hardcore fans when he faced Bob Sapp (K-1 phenom) in his prime in 2003 and managed to knock Bob Sapp down, but was hit on the nerve of his neck which forced him to lose. Seth Petruzelli was a very great stand up fighter known for his Karate (Tradition Martial arts background). Kimbo vs. Seth was now the main event. Seth managed to KO Kimbo with a jab going backwards in 14 seconds which ended the fight. Kimbo hype died when an unknown to the casual fan (Seth) was able to stop Kimbo within seconds. Later, Seth made an interview on 104.1 radio show that stated that Elite XC officials wanted to pay him more to stand with Kimbo (Kimbo was a stand up fighter, giving him more chance to win). After the interview leaked national news, Elite XC was facing questions about fixing the fights. Elite XC folded....


Affliction was a t-shirt company that sponsered MMA fighters for years. The owner was a huge MMA hardcore fan and even has fought. He decided he would run a "Pride-like" event featuring a card of superstars from top to bottom including the biggest and best fighter of all time in the main event, Fedor. IN 2008, Affliction 1 had a lot of top talent from Pride & UFC. The truth is UFC had become a brandname & Affliction could not obtain UFC numbers, partly because they didn't have a network to advertise their events on like UFC / Spike TV. The pay roll of Affliction 1 was 3 million dollars with a live gate of only two million. Affliction was a GREAT event that hit every single aspect of MMA we loved. Huge mega card with top name fighters, exciting fights, etc.. But Dana White hit back Affliction by banning them as sponsers for his fighters as well as putting on UFC cards during the live ppv broadcast of Affliction. It was obvious Dana White was now all about killing off the competition instead of 'working together' like he insisted in 2001. Affliction 1 and 2 lost money as the big names cost too much. Affliction 3 featured a mega dream match of Barnett vs. Fedor, a fight that might have happened in Pride. Barnett failed the steroid test right before the fight, so Affliction tried to put Belfort vs. Fedor as the new main event, but the ppv provider felt that changing the main event would cause ppv buyrate loses. The result ended with Affliction folding and re-united with UFC to sponser UFC fighters. Affliction had two memorable amazing shows, probably the biggest and best card in America since the early UFC days.


IFL was a promotion that used MMA as "teams", which had fun fights, but a failed concept. MMA is not a team sport no matter how much you look at it. You have a team in your corner, but its an idependent sport. Bodog was another organization that gained some fame with Bodog, an online betting website, had the money to make it work, but eventually also failed in the end. The killing off of other organizations only helped Zuffa UFC succeed.
3/26/12 10:16 PM
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EatonBeever
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The Superbowl of Mixed Martial Arts - or not.....

Since UFC owned Pride now, UFC could put on UFC vs. Pride matches. Dana made an announcement saying that his company will put on "The Superbowl of Mixed Martial Arts". This statement eventually never panned out. Zuffa did sign Pride fighters, but instead of creating a Superbowl of MMA where there would be the top Pride guys vs. top UFC guys, Zuffa (more likely Dana White) was still obsessed with their previous goal of mainstream acceptance and popularity. Since most casual fans didn't know Pride or the history of UFC vs. Pride - Dana White (or Zuffa) felt that signing big matches wouldn't be worth the money since no one really knew the fighters from Japan. The Superbowl of MMA was not a reality and not worth the money. In reality, Dana White knew spending too much money on super cards would just end up losing money. So they filled the ppv cards with lesser fighters, none of them superstars nor memorable and only put a few big fights on the card. This created a lot of people to realize that Pride was over and we might never see star filled cards with top ranked fighters from top to bottom. Instead, we will be witnessing the system similar to Boxing where the main event was the only thing that mattered at the end of the day. So Pride fighters would make their debut on a UFC card against a lesser fighter as a way of 'introducing Pride fighter to the casual fan'. The system was horrible for hardcore fans who had to wait for the superstars to get through lesser fighters to get to their dream match. It was obvious Dana White was more interested in making money rather than putting on high level fights. Cro Cop fought Sanchez, a virtually unknown HW fighter. Rampage fought Marvin Eastman, a fighter only known to hardcore fans and not relevant anymore. Minotauro fought Heath Herring in a third fight of the two - a fight signed only because the first two fights were so exciting in Pride & UFC wanted that excitement on their ppv. Wanderlei Silva was 0-2 from his last two Pride fights and fought the dream match against Chuck Liddell who was also 0-2 in his last two fights. It was a great fight, but people knew it wasn't the same as if it happened in 2003, Pride GP finals. It was obivous both superstars were not at the top anymore. Pride Bushido superstar Gomi was brought in on a Fight Night against Kenny Florian, a TUF 1 vetern who lost all of his title shots. Shogun had to face TUF 1 vetern and winner, Forrest Griffin. Rogerio Nogueira faced Luiz Cane at UFC 106. It seemed no real big dream matches were going to be signed unless the fighters were coming off of losses... A few big dream Pride vs. UFC matches happened much later on over the years like Ortiz vs. Rogerio, but once again they both were coming off losses. In Pride, as soon as they signed a big name, they immediately put him against another big name in the top of the card. Royce was signed by Pride and in 2000, he was the main event. The fans were already educated in their combat sports, but Dana felt in America, he would have to educate the casual fan by himself, so thus creating fights that tried to introduce that fighter & show he is credible. So the hardcore fans had to suffer by not getting the dream fights nor a supercard of any magnitude while watching the biggest names in the sport against mid-level to lower-level fighters that were not superstars. The end result was terrible. Fights that were not memorable nor interesting on any level to the hardcore fan and confusing to the new fan because a lot of hype and the fights never really went the way they were suppose to (at least in Zuffa's mind). When looking back, you think of Rampage win over Liddell at UFC 71, not his Marvin East UFC 67 match. You think of Cro Cop's career, his UFC matches were all not memorable. He made some of them exciting, but for the most part people will discuss his matches with Nogueira at Pride GP 2003, his KO win over Vovchanchyn, his Fedor superfight at Pride... You can argue Cro Cop was past his prime in the UFC, but so was Minotauro & Couture when they fought each other and that had 10000x more impact than any fight they made with Cro Cop.



Identity Crisis - UFC the Federation or UFC the Sport ???


UFC shifted to a Federation to dominate all other organizations (IFL, Bodog, EliteXC, Strikeforce). Before UFC monopolized the sport, they were still a big one, but not the only one. Thus, Dana had to not promote its superstars, but promote its champions in superstar status. George St-Pierre had one loss against Matt Hughes, but managed to collect enough wins and fame to garnish a rematch which he dominated, thus making him the new champion. Since Pride didn't even have a WW division, all the biggest WW names were in UFC from the start. Starting with Matt Hughes and now to GSP. GSP continued a long streak of wins before losing an upset to Matt Serra. GSP got a rematch and won by TKO making him to have beaten every single opponent he has faced. Anderson Silva was known as former Chute Boxer who gained some success in Pride, but lost to two Japanese lesser opponents in Pride - Ryo Chonnan & Takase. Coming over to UFC, he demolished TUF 1 vetern, Chris Leben. People already knew the Pride stars were superior to the TUF fighters, but once Anderson beat Rich Franklin, the MW champion & UFC posterboy - Anderson Silva went undefeated to this day in the UFC making him number two p4p behind Fedor at the time.

3/26/12 10:17 PM
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EatonBeever
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A lot of the Pride superstars crossed over did not gain the same success. Shogun came off an ACL surgery & ring rust, he was gassed and lost to TUF 1 vetern, Forrest Griffin. Rampage came in and rematched Liddell who was on an incredible hot streak of LHW title defenses, and managed to defeat Liddell in their rematch making him the champion. Forrest won a controversial fight over Rampage which is still debated to this day. Forrest then went onto losing to Rashad and Rashad to Lyoto Machida. It seemed the LHW title was a marry-go-round title that was won by everyone who fought for it. The LHW was a clusterfuck to say the least.

The LW division was not a clusterfuck, as BJ Penn was always the superstar that carried interest in that division for years and years.HW division was simple. Fedor was number one. Minotauro was number two. Cro cop was number three for years.. Fedor was fighting in Affliction & for M-1 , a fight org that acts as his management as well. So Minotauro was able to come to the UFC. He won the title against Tim Sylvia and HW had the number two fighter in the world, which ultimately spelled out the UFC does not have every number one fighter - but their champs were superstars.

Minotauro, Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, GSP, & BJ Penn were the champions + superstars that were thrown in the main event. Promoting this talent was easy since they've been around for a long time in other organizations & were known to everyone. Bottom line is this. Dana used these champions as the reasons that UFC was the best 'federation' at the time , despite not having Fedor. He had superstars that were champions & used that as momentum for his agenda that he had the best fighters (hence acting as a federation rather than an entire sport). To ensure that the UFC had the best fighters, Dana White would belittle other organization champions with comments that they were overrated. Fedor was the p4p greatest fighter at that point , but since Dana didn't have Fedor under contract, he would comment how overrated he was. This could have been a tactic to sign the fighters, but it was a terrible image of the UFC that made them look immature and unprofessional.
3/26/12 10:18 PM
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EatonBeever
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UFC Gains Highest Success thanks to Vince McMahon & the WWE


UFC was using cheap talent from TUF to put on the cards of all their events. The talent was not the best, but if the fans weren't hardcore fans, they wouldn't know the difference. It was a successful tactic that allowed UFC to only put on one or two mega fights per ppv card to save money & still gain a good buyrate because no other organization could even top those one or two fights. While the fans were increasing, Zuffa could use TUF & Spike TV along with the countdown shows to do whatever they pleased. But Dana knows he needs a big name / big match to headline his PPV cards. The more big names he could get under Zuffa contract which doesnt allow the fighter to go anywhere else, the better. And if you can keep the price down, even better.

Brock Lesnar was a pro wrestler that made his way up the latter all the way to the grande stage of Wrestlemania 19 main event winning the smackdown title over Kurt Angle. The match was after Austin vs. Rock, Hogan vs. Vince, & Shawn Michaels vs. Jericho, which means he was the biggest thing at the time. Labelled as "the next big thing", Lesnar never had the heart for the business of pro wrestling. He quit the WWE to get into football. With his size and athletism, Brock had goals of the NFL. Brock played for the Minnesota Vikings where he was starting minor fights and even got heat for sacking the KC Chiefs quarterback. After playing the pre-season, Lesnar was cut. In 2006, Lesnar was interested in MMA. His first promotion would be to fight for K-1. He announced this in a K-1 event in 2006. In 2007, K-1 Dynamite!! - a superstar card that made its way to USA which featured Brock Lesnar MMA debut in the main event against lesser fighter Min Soo Kim. Orginally , he was suppose to fight 7 foot K-1 monster Hong Man Choi. Brock won in the first minute and 9 second mark by TKO as he mounted the fighter who seemed to tap out quickly once Brock was in control. It was a very fast fight that did not determine exactly how much skills Brock pocessed in the new sport that wasnt pro wrestling nor football...

Brock eventually signed with UFC. His first opponent was Frank Mir at UFC 81. Mir submitted Brock in the first round by a leg lock. Brock was still asked to return to UFC for another fight as his name created a lot of interest. His credibility was questionable, but his superstar name was still big enough to attract a big audience. The next fight was against Heath Herring. False statements were used to sell the fight that Heath was trash talking Brock because of his pro wrestling background. That was downright lies to sell the fight. Herring actually had pro wrestling matches himself and never said that. Heath lost the decision to Brock, which fueled Zuffa to promote Brock as credible since he beat a credible fighter, but Heath Herring decided to leave Zuffa.


Elite XC had Kimbo Slice. He was a superstar, but not credible. UFC now has Brock Lesnar. He was a superstar AND credible. This would be known at UFC 91, when Lesnar beat UFC legend and HW champion, Randy Couture. After beating Herring & Couture, Brock's stock rose and Dana was now gaining more money over him that he never had before. You have a superstar that WWE created to sell UFC ppvs and he was big and good enough to win his fights against other big superstar names - Herring & Couture.

3/26/12 10:20 PM
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EatonBeever
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UFC 100 The Supershow We've Been Waiting For


As many shows as Zuffa put on, most of them were not memorable in a sense that Zuffa doesn't have the creative ability like Pride. Each show would be similar to the next with the same commentary, the same talk, the same hype. The only shows that were memorable for Zuffa UFC were:

UFC 33 - First PPV on the banned cable outlets
UFC 40 - The Superfight - Ken vs. Ortiz
UFC Finale 1 - Spike TV ; Forrest vs. Bonnar & Ken Shamrock
UFC 52 - TUF coaches / superstar rematch of Couture vs. Liddell


Since then, the cards were similar to each other and had a same pattern of one or two big matches with the undercard being filled with people that were not top ranked, not superstars, not memorable. That is a generalization, but if they were ranked, or famous in the world of mma, or memorable - it varied to the levels of not being remembered that well (unless you attended the events of course). That was not the case for UFC 100. UFC 100 was the biggest supercard since early ZUffa UFCs, particulary UFC 40. You have up and comer Jon Jones on the undercard as well as Mark Coleman...number two ranked ww Jon Fitch....the debut of Yoshihiro Akiyama (a Judo mma icon in japan that was incredible), Dan Henderson who coached TUF 9 against other TUF 9 coach Mike Bisping in a USA vs. UK themed TUF season.....Georges St.Pierre against number one contender and great WW Thiago Alves...Then you have the main event - Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar II.

So you have a card filled with superstars, exciting fights and a main event that everyone was very interested in seeing. UFC 91 featured Brock beating Couture for the interim HW championship. UFC 92 featured the HW championship Mir upsetting Minotauro, finally dethrowning Minotauro. This was also considered a 4-man tournament, with the winner the Final HW Undisputed champion. Plus Mir was the only person to defeat Brock, so Brock had a history. This was a real life storyline that caught everyone's attention. It was something new, for years since Pride died, UFC had been a series of the same style UFC ppvs which featured one or two memorable fights while the rest were filled with lesser fighters that the UFC overhyped in an attempt to make it mean something. This was something NEW and exciting. 4 of the best HW fighters in the world competing in a 4 man tournament to determine who was the best. It almost felt like Pride days. Top superstars, which all 3 fighers were exciting. In the end, Brock Lesnar won, getting his revenge on Mir after a large war of words between the two for months. Brock was the HW champion and he seemed unstoppable due to his size and wrestling background. Brock Lesnar brought much big success to the UFC. The UFC 100 ppv brought in 1.6 million buyrate, making it the number one ppv in 2009. UFC 66 which was Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 was the only other PPV to be number one of the year, beating Boxing. Boxing won 2007 & 2008 with Mayweather, Pacquiao & De La Hoya - but UFC accomplished to beat all Boxing PPVs for the number one PPV of the year in 2009.


One Last Organization to take over to go from Federation to SPORT


Strikeforce had mild success over the years. Scott Coker was the American promoter of K-1 and has been in the fight game for a long time. He understood the sport. For years, Dana always complimented Coker for being a good promoter. After the 2001 "we will co-promote / work together" bull shit Dana spewed out, he went on rants against other organizations, similar to a high school cheerleader girl talking shit about other cheerleaders. But he left Coker alone. That was , until Elite XC folded and Coker's Strikeforce stepped in Showtime & CBS. Dana had accomplished a lot of goals since the beginning but the one goal he could never accomplish was primetime network television. Coker got that. And one more thing... Dana never had Fedor fight for the UFC. Coker also got that as well. In Novemer 7th, 2009 - Coker made a deal with CBS to promote Fedor vs. Brett Rogers on CBS primetime Saturday Night slot. It drew in 5 million viewers. Dana now had to deal with yet another competition.

Dana White would continue his tactics to squash competition by airing UFC replays or Fight Nights against the Strikeforce shows. On April 17th, 2010, Strikeforce held their next and final show on CBS. Originally it was suppose to be Fedor vs. Werdum, but the fight was cancelled for a later date. The Strikeforce Nashville show on CBS would be the biggest MMA diaster since UFC 33. All three fights would be for a title featuring the biggest names. Henderson was a former UFC star who left UFC after winning UFC 100. So he was def known to the casual MMA / UFC fan. He would be fighting Jake Shields for the title. Gilbert Melendez would be facing Japan Submission superstar Shinya Aoki & Gegard Mousasi would face King Mo.

Aoki, Mousasi & Henderson seemed to be the best fighters of their divisions, some would even argue that they could better than the UFC champs. Aoki vs. BJ , Lyoto vs. Mousasi & Henderson vs. Anderson were some dream matches of SF best vs. UFC champs. But Strikeforce would have to get those belts on their superstars in order to really cement themselves as an organization with superstar fighting champions equal to UFC. That would not happen at Strikeforce Nashville. Mousasi lost to King Mo by 5 round decision. Aoki would be butt scooting for 5 rounds to lose a decision. And Henderson would somehow be upset by a smaller Jake Shields. Henderson fight was an even bigger problem as Jake was complaining the fight was designed to have Henderson as a champion and promoting Henderson even though he was the champ. This was also Jake's last fight on his contract. So after he won the belt, he could leave Strikeforce - and that is what he did.... Jake was seen with Dana White at a PPV after the diaster CBS show.


To add insult to injury, Fedor suffered a loss to Werdum by submission in the first round on the showtime card. Fedor was the greatest fighter and Dana White's biggest threat. In a certain point of view, it seemed UFC wasn't credible organization if they didn't have the best fighter on the planet and of all time. Its like having the best HWs of 1970's compete in a tournament but not including Muhammad Ali. But with Fedor losing, it gave Dana verbal ammo to insult Fedor, downplay Strikeforce talent and crown himself as the ruler of the Sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Strikeforce momentum had fallen and the company was in trouble. On March 12th, 2011, Dana revealed that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce. Strikeforce would continue to run shows, but now be owned by Zuffa. This allowed Zuffa to collect the top superstars of Strikeforce including Nick Diaz, Jason Miller (who went onto coach a TUF season), Dan Henderson to return, Cung Le & finally Alistair Overeem. The UFC no longer needed to continue and act as a Federation as it was now proclaiming to be the entire sport. UFC the Sport
3/26/12 10:21 PM
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EatonBeever
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The Monopoly of the UFC


After Strikeforce was now owned by Zuffa & not a competition anymore, UFC had a structured system in place that I would like to highlight. Zuffa UFC copied the Boxing Model. It makes sense, Dana white was a Boxing guy. The Boxing model is great for Boxing. Its a structured system designed to ensure correct champions & perfect the rankings. Boxing also sells a PPV for the main event, the marquee match up. Each Boxing PPv is titled "(____last name__ vs. ___last name__". As Zuffa UFCs progressed , they started to eliminate the catch phrase titles for the UFC ppvs "Throwdown", "War of 04", etc....to the first UFC PPV titled "UFC 52 - Liddell vs. Couture II". So now, the focus was obviously gearing toward selling a 60 dollar ppv for the main event. But the names of each PPV was not about the superstars of the sport, but rather than 'Credible' fighters which I'll get to in a minute.


Protect the Brand Name of UFC


But the UFC at the same time wants to be bigger & better than Boxing, so they also focus on action. The marketing strategy team at Zuffa designed a system where they market UFC as a name brand. They now tried to make name brand mean more than the fighters themselves. The design was that so the UFC could sell all the ppvs based on the name of the organization - "UFC" rather than selling a PPV for its all star card. This was the MOST evident at UFC 108 where they signed Rashad Evans against Thiago Silva. Usually a fight of that magnitude would be on free Spike TV, but this time, Zuffa was still charging the normal PPV rate at the time. The card up & down was not worth the money at the time. Great fights, but action between people we don't care about goes forgotten. The fans were pretty upset about UFC 108 & Dana White responded "Don't like it, don't buy it". It was a clear sign that Zuffa simply does not care what the fans want that they will put on any PPV they wish & no one can tell them otherwise because they are the top dog. A right they do have, but the feel of the response from Zuffa management had nothing to do with honor, a great promotion, tradition, anything great associated with MMA. Instead, it made the sport of MMA really just to be based on money and business. Pride put on fights that the fans wanted to see. Dana White claims he will make big fights, but in the end only puts on fights that benefits his company to produce money & secure a future for the company. Pride always was a people pleaser & made the big fights while Zuffa UFC seems to only care about their pocketbook.
3/26/12 10:23 PM
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EatonBeever
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Death of the Superstar


With UFC's fear and business practice of killing off its competition, the UFC also wanted to ensure the fighter did gain superstar status and collect a big fanbase. If a fighter got very famous and had a falling out with UFC, they could go to another competitor organization. Which means, that fighter's fanbase could also go to the competition. UFC hates competition these days and for the past few years. So the system is designed that there should no longer be UFC Superstars, but instead, they want 'credible' fighters. Superstars can lose and still have an interest with the general public. Crediblie fights can't lose because then they are not credible, thus no fanbase. The system is that if a fighter wins, you get more fights. The more wins, the more contracts you get. But if you lose, god forbid. The UFC will dump you, never acknowledge you again and erase the memory of that fighter's past matches. Bustamante, Dave Menne, Jens Pulver were early Zuffa UFC Champions & had a level of superstar power, but since UFC only cares about today's fighters and what the fighters can benefit them today, they simply ignore their own history to deminish the credbility of the past as a way to influence the public that the better fighters are in the UFC today and thats why they tell you to pay the ppvs of today rather than caring about the past. A sad fact, but UFC re-writes their own history. Frank Shamrock carried the dying SEG UFC through the 'dark ages' by using his name and fighting for the company to generate interest. When Zuffa purchased UFC, Frank had a falling out with the company and was erased from the UFC website. Years later, Ken Shamrock had an even bigger falling out with UFC. When the UFC Encylopedia hit stores last year, a half of a page discussed Shamrock Brothers while Royce Gracie & Dan Severn had full pages dedicated to them. It seems that Zuffa holds grudges & re-writes history as a way to get back at their enemies.


Promoting Action over Fighters


UFC prided themselves on creating 'action'. Dana White always said "you need to witness the event live because there is nothing like it". It was obvious Dana's turn from promoting big superstars like Ortiz vs. Liddell at UFC 47 was now interested in promoting the action instead of the fighters. Zuffa countdowns & 24-7 rip off were now geared to tell the audience "Watch this guy because he is exciting" rather than adding context or a historical value to the individual fight. I believe the source of this belief by Zuffa was Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar. Here are two names built by a reality tv show which they didnt hold any top ten ranking, but still had a wild exciting fight that gave UFC success. If you look at the numbers, Griffin / Bonnar fought for peanuts to get the contract and it generated huge numbers. It was obvious that the UFC could display and promote action over their superstars to promote its brand name as well as to save a buck from signing huge big names from other organizations. If the Zuffa company could persuade the media outlets & its fans to associate the UFC name brand with big action, then they don't need big names to spend money on. Because regardless, they'll get the same buy rates. It's about the money in the end.

3/26/12 10:23 PM
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The Mouth
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3/26/12 10:25 PM
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EatonBeever
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Total Control over the Fighters


With UFC a monopoly, the fighters must sign a lot of their likeness to the UFC. They are not allowed to compete anywhere else during their Zuffa contract. Zuffa controls the fighter. They have a number of rules they must follow. And the fighter has nowhere else to go, so is forced to sign with the company. In order to make a living off of the sport they love, they must bow down to Zuffa's commands. This also means, lower pay. Why pay a fighter 100k when they will sign the exact same contract for 50k ? Where else could they even get 50k ? No where... A lot of the fanbase wanted the sport mainstream for mega dream matches & bigger fighter pay for the fighters. That was promised by Dana White himself in 2001, but turned out to be a lie (or a change of his mind). The fighter pay increase slightly while profits soared. UFC in 2002 went from 35k to an average of 300k a ppv in 2011. But the pay was only slightly better. Zuffa does one thing correct, they honor their contracts. Fighters had issues with struggling MMA companies that couldn't make payroll after their fights. Impact FC , an Australian promotion , held an all star MMA card and failed to pay many fighters. Zuffa always honored their contracts. That was a smart business move by Zuffa to always put that as a main priority. With the reputation of always paying their contracts, fighters feel comfortable signing even though the pay is not as big as it should, at least it is something. The small pay for fighters who even on pay per views were still getting low numbers of 16 thousand for winning on a ppv card raised a lot of questions from fans & eventually caught the attention of ESPN. ESPN ran a small story on fighter pay & UFC responded viciously insulting ESPN, alienating the number one sports network in North America.


Convincing Mainstream Media UFC = NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB


Manipulating the fans was something a promoter should be good at. Dana White was no exception. The UFC forced their name brand toward every single person who thought cage fighting was automatically UFC. Dana White got together with Yahoo.com Sports department writers and now the "UFC" is the name of the MMA section instead of "MMA". Dana White convinced the fans that UFC should be the equalivalent of MLB, NBA, NHL, etc. Dana White even made a ridiculous statement saying:

"When you look at the world of sports right now, nothing in this country is bigger than the NFL," Dana White said. "There was always that big argument whether baseball was bigger than football or whatever. There's no argument. The NFL is huge. I don't (care) if you didn't watch one football game all season, everybody watches the Super Bowl. But I know for a fact -- I don't think -- that we're going to be the biggest sport in the world."

Suddenly , this comment sparked debate among the fans that UFC does not equal MMA. That in fact, UFC is just an organization of MMA, while the newer fans felt that UFC should own the entire sport for whatever reason. People were citing NFL as an example why UFC should run the entire sport. Because then all the fighters are under one roof and can fight each other. The problem is if all the fighters are under one roof, there can be no chance for a bidding war. And bidding wars are how big money is given to the fighters. The difference is NFL is a team sport, different teams are owned by different owners. Those owners will bid for a valuable player, thus creating a higher earning for that athlete. If Dana White owned all football teams, why would he pay millions for one player ? He owns them all. The same can be said for UFC. Competition is good for the sport, but bad for Zuffa UFC. But Zuffa UFC wants everyone to make the comparison of NFL / UFC. That way , it eliminates all competition and they don't have to pay fighters high amounts of money to avoid a bidding war & still intake all the MMA profits if its being directed only to them without competition.



3/26/12 10:26 PM
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EatonBeever
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Fighters are now Credible instead of Promotion of Superstars


UFC now markets their fighters as 'credible'. That was no fighter can be bigger than their own company. If someone of Fedor's status goes in UFC wins, and leaves for Bellator - people will follow him. So its in the contracts that Zuffa can obtain a fighter for x amount of fights and have the right to cut them if they lose. Its a system that they can now build fighters as 'credible' so they can use them to sell tickets, but not have to worry about them leaving. By not building fighters larger than life or superstars, once they lose , they can be cut, forgotten & still obtain the number one mma organization in the world regardless of where that fighter goes. Early Zuffa days promoted Couture, Liddell, Ortiz as superstars. It worked well too. Couture went onto Hollywood and became famous. Liddell made it on Dancing with the Stars and small films. Ortiz has been on TMZ quite often as the general public is interested in his personal life. These are superstars. But those fighters are (or almost) all gone. It seems like an evil business tactic, but you might want to see Zuffa's point of view. Randy Couture was the biggest Superstar with the HW belt. But he wanted to fight Fedor in Affliction before he retired since he was getting old. UFC couldn't strike a deal with Fedor, so he left anyway hinting he would sign anyway against Fedor. But Zuffa threw their legal team to stop any deal from being made. Couture was forced to comeback to UFC to fight Lesnar to avoid a mega lawsuit. Zuffa is not good with dealing with talent. They like the idea of just cutting them if they don't want to play by their rules. Couture was bigger than UFC. His name alone could sell tickets on any ppv and UFC did not like that. Their contracts were designed to avoid that situation, but it was a lesson for Dana White & UFC. To now deminish the fighters into 'credible' rather than 'superstars'. Fighters like Anderson, GSP, and Bones Jones worked very hard and are very talented to obtain titles and build their own fanbase on their own. If you feel UFC wants them as superstars, you're wrong. They want even their top guys to be able to be fired without a fanbase following them. If anyone thinks if Anderson Silva left UFC , started his own MMA company and fought in the main event - the UFC would completely erase Anderson's history in the organization and never even mention him anywhere. There are no documentaries about the past champs or past superstars. Only 24-7 rip offs or countdown specials promoting 'credible fighters' for their upcoming events. UFC is all about "what can you do for me tomorrow" rather than perserving the history of their own fights & fighters. Because keeping history does not provide any more profit for them. Its a business now. Wheather you feel like thats justified is totally subjective. It def strays away from the roots of MMA about fighting for honor or Pride's philosophy about putting on a Martial Arts Event instead of a one fight PPV card for 60 dollars with fights that mean nothing in the long run. I always laugh when Dana talks about promoting GSP vs. Anderson. That will never happen until they start losing. The system is designed to keep fighters credibile, and not superstars. If Anderson fights GSP, one will have to lose, thus hurting the credibility of a fighter thus in UFC and the new fan's eyes - they will be not as good anymore. Dana recently said he'd like to sign that fight, but he won't do it. If he meant that, he would make that fight. These are prize fighters, they fight for money and to feed their families. I highly doubt fighters at that level would be scared of each other and would result to ducking each other. Dana will always give the fans something to talk about, but not give them memorable mega dream fights. He will instead replace 'context' of the fights with 'action'.
3/26/12 10:27 PM
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EatonBeever
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Edited: 03/29/12 5:26 PM
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Birth of the Point Fighters (To Keep Credibility)


With Zuffa in complete control, the fighter now has only one chance to make money. Win their fights. Since Zuffa UFC copied the Boxing PPV model, they also copied the Boxing credibility model for their own good. Everything is about records now. The fighters now have to have a good record to fight in UFC. Context of the fights are no irrelevant making it a boring stale product. Everything is about the numbers next to the name. The higher number, than the more likely they can keep their job. It now is drying out the soul of MMA and turning it into a survival to stay in the company to feed their families. In order to do that, they must secure a win, since Zuffa UFC models themselves after Boxing. So this results to boring decision fights. Fighters are now afraid to take risks. I don't mind if fights go to decisions, but I do mind if the fighters simply refuse to go for a finish to secure a 'W'. The fighters are now fighting safe which makes a boring fight. TUF fighters who do not have star power (because there is no venue to obtain star power with no mma competition) will now HAVE to get a win to keep their jobs. There are fighters like Ryan Bader, Mike Bisping, Gray Maynard, and a ton of other fighters now referred to as 'point fighters'. These fighters use their athletism to win the fights from the judges. They aren't fighters who put it all out there and truly finish their opponents because that is how they fight. They play by the rules of the system to earn more money. This creates a boring and stale product. Since no one else is hiring, more and more fights are going to decision.

Number of events per year, followed by percentage of fights that did not go to a decision. This does not include fights in the TUF house.

2002: 7 Events for a total of 53 fights, 37 finishes= 69.8%
2003: 5 Events for a total of 41 fights, 26 finishes= 63.4%
2004: 5 Events for a total of 39 fights, 27 finishes= 69.2%
2005: 10 Events for a total of 71 fights, 51 finishes= 71.8%
- 6 PPV, 4 'Free'
2006: 19 Events for a total of 148 fights, 100 finishes= 67.6%
- 11 PPV, 8 'Free'
2007: 18 Events for a total of 160 fights, 104 finishes= 65.0%
- 10 PPV, 8 'Free'
2008: 20 Events for a total of 199 fights, 136 finishes= 68.3%
- 12 PPV, 8 'Free'
2009: 21 Events for a total of 225 fights, 125 finishes= 55.5%
- 11 PPV, 10 'Free'
2010: 24 Events for a total of 251 fights, 128 finishes= 50.9%
- 14 PPV, 10 'Free'
2011: 27 Events for a total of 300 fights, 152 finishes= 50.6%
- 16 PPV, 11 'Free'
2012 (so far): 7 Events for a total of 73 fights, 41 finishes= 56.2%
(Credit to: DMCA18 from another post)

And to reward the fighters winning records, they get a title shot. This proved to further prevent exciting mega superstar match ups. You have point fighters awarded title shots because they are 'credible' enough to get one. It makes the UFC look like they are organized and fair - but at the same time hurt themselves by creating a stale product. No better example than good ole Frankie Edgar. Edgar earned enough wins to position himself against the LW champion, at the time BJ Penn. BJ Penn was and always will be a MMA Superstar, love him or hate him. But naturally, instead of singing mega dream LW match ups for BJ Penn to create memorable and exciting fights (signing Aoki, Hansen, Melendez, Kawajiri, JZ Calvan) - the UFC had to do their recycled 'credible champions with non-superstar fame' pattern. On April 10, 2010 - Edgar was set to face BJ for the championship. Edgar's style is point fighting without going for finishes to secure a victory. Edgar managed to barely get a decision to win the LW in the most boring un-memorable fight ever. A rematch happened at UFC 118. The same exact 25 minutes of boredom that could have put the audience to sleep happened and Edgar remained LW champ ensuring that no one will care about his future LW championship fights. Even though Edgar beat BJ Penn (by point fighting), people would still take a BJ vs. Aoki match over any upcoming Edgar matches. It became a reality that UFC copying the Boxing doesnt work for MMA. It ensures boring uninteresting match ups. Titles do not matter in our sport. They are there for show. MMA is about a fight between two fighters using their best styles to display their skills. Titles are more designed for Boxing.

Its hard to judge MMA fights because of the complexity of the fight. Judges seemed to be absolutely uneducated in the fights. None more so than UFC 104 where Shogun defeated Machida, but the judges ruled it in favor of Machida. A fight that people were shocked about. In Zuffa UFC defense, they do not choose the judges, however they also do nothing to change it. Mousasi vs. Jardine in Strikeforce happened where Mousasi beat the hell out of Jardine, but they ruled the fight a draw. A decision that sparked Mousasi (one of the most talented and exciting fightes) to confess he plans to fight safe for now on because of the judges. It seems the more exciting fighters or even semi-exciting fighters now thanks to bad judging & UFC contracts have to point fight in order to make a living instead of fighting with honor.

Bad judging mixed with point fighting caused, in my opinion, a major decrease in PPV buyrates. Frankie Edgar couldn't draw a dime even though the UFC built him as a 'credible' champion. Because no one buys him as a real champion or a fighter that is the best in the LW (which means if he's the best, he can finish his fights), ppv sales are on the decline. Edgar's next fight was against another point fighter Gray Maynard. The fight OBVIOUSLY went to decision, although many felt it was a better fight than expected, possibly because of low expections of the fight due to the first one was boring.

Dana White Article after UFC 118:
Next up for Edgar is a fight with Gray Maynard, and White denies that will be a hard fight to promote.
“No reservations whatsover. When you say people say that, I say the media say that. I don’t buy into the media bullsh*t. We’re going to put on a fight, and when Maynard and Frankie fight, people are going to want to see it.”


Dana White was incorrect. The UFC made the match because Maynard was a 'credible' contender although their first fight was boring and both are tailor made to go to the judges score cards, something that is horrible to do these days with the lack of knownledge of judges. The event before Maynard-Edgar 2 garnished a 800k ppv buyrate thanks to GSP who is a superstar. Maynard-Edgar 2, promoted the same way as the last ppv since all PPVs and fights are promoted exactly the same except for the few 24-7 rip offs, and the ppv buyrate decreased to 250k, 550 thousand less buys.
 
3/26/12 10:27 PM
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crunk404
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3/26/12 10:27 PM
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wiggum
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sub'd for later reading.
3/26/12 10:27 PM
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Herring In A Fur Coat
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3/26/12 10:27 PM
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UGCTT_EnderTL
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Subbed to FRAT later... Lol jk Phone Post
3/26/12 10:28 PM
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EatonBeever
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"YOU'RE FIRED!!!!!"


Total control over fighters means eliminating them as UFC has no interest in them. If they have the best stand up skills in the world, but 3 fights get taking down and lose a decision by a Lay'n'Pray fighter, they will be cut. Skills don't even matter, just the 'win or lose' record. The result I mentioned is that fighters now play it safe creating boring fights. But its really embedded in the fans and moved from MMA that was once a display of a certain skill & martial art to now a business of survival & captialism. The UG will be filled with fans of "___ is going to be cut". "Whos getting cut next?". The fans really seem to shift from talking about the superstars & dream matches to discuss business practices and deals of the company Zuffa. With so much talk among the fans of money, business, getting fired, it drains the oldschool feeling of MMA is about honor & tradition. Its all the same stale, boring, bland events with no context. You get on the UG and "He lost, he is going to be cut". "One more loss and this guy is going to gone from UFC". Thats the context the UFC conveys to the fanbase ? Who's getting fired ?? Its a horrible system and idealogy the UFC embeds in its fanbase. Back in the day, you fought for pride and honor. Someone loss back in the day, no worries, if he had skill he would fight again. Skill no longer matters. Only if that skill can be used to get a 'win'.


"You got to keep scoring Frankie!" - Sport over the Fight


Dana White was a huge Boxing guy and saw how Boxing worked from a business stand point. The systems of Zuffa UFC that I've discussed in great lengths results for the UFC to not only have credible fighters, but a credible sport that is on the same playing field as Boxing. Dana might advertise UFC is more 'exciting' than Boxing, but the product belongs in a sport's newspaper. The old days of Pride showed a Martial Arts Event that displayed the best fighters on the planet and promoted them as superstars. They would enter the ring and fight. The rules were not limited as much as current Nevada Athletic State Commission allows. Fighters in Pride were allowed to use foot stomps, soccer kicks, knees on the ground to really make it a dangerous fight , similar to a one-on-one street fight without weapons, just using their bodies. The limitation of strikes forces the UFC product to less like a real fight and more of a sport. With the point fighters using the system of UFC & judges in their favor, it seems that points, scoring, rounds, similar to Boxing are now embedded in MMA. At UFC 144, Frankie Edgar's corner promoted Edgar to keep scoring fights instead of giving advice to finish his opponent. Opening the eyes that the top spot of UFC may be more concentrating on points, judging thus making it look more like a TKD match. The days of fighters putting all out on the line to create an exciting fight are few and far between now. Its now more of an Olympic Sport than a no-holds-barred fight to determine who the better warrior is. Boxing was Dana's main passion. He modeled MMA after Boxing. And that is what we have. Here is a quote from a 1994 oldschool fan who appeared on the UG this week.

From: Rambo John J Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 2 days ago
Edited: 03/23/12 9:04 PM

"stevekt - It's a "Business"."
Sadly, this is becoming the purpose for MMA. It used to be a Fight. Rules changed it to a Sport. Now it has become Business(Politics). Fights are no longer fought for the same reasons as they were in early MMA.(with exceptions-Rua/Hendo). This Sucks(Fan since '94)


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