UnderGround Forums Do you feel less a part of the UFC today?

10 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 64374

If you're not a new fan of the UFC, it probably feels a little different to you since the league was acquired by Endeavor in 2016. On episode three of The Insiders, The Athletic writer Chuck Mindenhall offers a theory for why.

“If Endeavor officials, Ari Emanuel or any of the big names, had come forward and just made statements, just talked to the public and the media a little bit, put some kind of face to what was going on, maybe there would have been a different vibe from the beginning," said Mindenhall, as transcribed by Shakiel Mahjouri for MMA Mania. "It became faceless immediately. You have Dana operating as a middle man between what the owners are thinking and what the reality is. It made it very impersonal.

"One brilliant thing that the Fertitta brothers did was make it very familial... There was a feeling that we’re all in this together. You’re all building the sport into something that will be sustainable and, not just that, but maybe at some point mainstream. I feel like that held together all throughout the Fertittas’ ownership reign. Because that structure was in place it felt like a family. It was like having a family in place. It felt very intimate. I felt like there was an outcry if the fans generally just really wanted to see some kind of fight or some kind of resolution to something, the Fertittas stepped in. They knew about it. They were in tune with the general attitude. The general feeling of where things were. And they would make it happen. I was always felt like there was a gratitude, even if it wasn’t expressed, about that.”

“You knew the fans had some sort of say, at some juncture, about what was happening. I feel like that went away with this transaction. The things that don’t make sense, it’s just Dana kind of digging his heels in and saying, ‘Well, that’s just the way it is.’ It’s almost like the UFC has turned a blind eye to what used to matter in that sense. Some of that is feeling disenfranchised or orphaned after the Fertittas left. A lot of fans feel like they’re listless or not rooted to the UFC like they were before. Like the family broke up a bit. It sounds a little extreme but I really think the Fertittas added that layer to it that made it very intimate even as it grew to a $4 billion thing.”

10 days ago
2/15/06
Posts: 25042

I kind of agree. The UFC doesn't have the same direction any more. I felt like the Fertitas were fight fans and cared more about the fights than just making money.

I can't imagine what it would be like if Dana was gone. He's still some connection to how it used to be.

10 days ago
6/30/07
Posts: 61170

Support the sport

Edited: 10 days ago
3/30/14
Posts: 6056

Employees feel the same way, they said its not the same at all anymore around the UFC offices.  Im also friends with one of the main ring girls and aquaintences with a matchmaker, they used to hook up comps whenever I asked and she would take me backstage to weigh ins/stuff like that.  It alwasy had a family feel despite being a multi billion dollar company by the end.  Dana would be busy as fuck but still shoot the shit with people and everyone down to the camera guys felt like they were all friends.  I didnt ask for tickets often too often, maybe once a year and they hooked it up with zuffa seating every time.  Dana was the one that approved comps and theyd be at will call for me under his name.  

 

After the buyout they said EVERYTHING changed and all comps were through WME/unless youre a celebrity they wouldnt approve shit.  Even asking for comps was appently a headache.  Im no one, just a fan who met the matchmaker late night at the fighters hotel for a WEC event and the ring girl though a friend.  No comp for you, FULL PRICE

 

I cant complain though, so many great times under the Zuffa banner

10 days ago
12/19/10
Posts: 1200

Gonna get flamed but i dont care.  I am an autograph guy and used to do the fighter hotel every fight i went to.  We would be able to sit in the lobby and get every fighter that wanted to sign.  After the sale the ufc got a few douche security guys who get in your face if you even look at a fighter.  Its crazy most fights have 3 autographers and they arent aggressive at all.  They have killed the small town vibe that used to exist 

10 days ago
1/5/13
Posts: 13

Really glad this has been brought up. I've only been to one show since the buyout but having been to a dozen or more wec shows and a handful of ufc ppv's, and this may not count but even all the strikeforce events I went to in san Jose were all experiences I'm fortunate to have gotten to be a part of. It just seems like the show i went to after the buyout completely killed my interest in going to anymore.  Before going to fights was like heroine or something.  I'd be fiending to go to the next one by morning the next day.  The interaction between fans & fighters seemed nonexistent and was more like being at a MLB game. I was hoping it was just the one event I went to but it sounds like it's just how it is now. 

Edited: 10 days ago
3/23/06
Posts: 6840

After the Fertitta’s sold it I was bummed for a few cards.  Then it got better with UFC 205, 207, 217... then all the cards started going to shit and it feels like the UFC does their own plans and match making without any insight from fan interest anymore.  In fact they use fan interest as negotiations tactics to pressure other fights.  I also don’t like how the UFC is trying to rewrite the history of the sport.  The UFC Hall of Fame is a prime example. No Frank Shamrock?   Then it’s a joke.  I still support the sport by watching the product but very few cards had me reaching for my wallet since 2016.  I noticed since the sale they don’t care what anyone thinks about quality over quantity and over saturation of such weak cards. 

10 days ago
2/23/14
Posts: 1709

I used to to love mma with a burning passion but since Reebok and then the merger it’s now a meh thing for me. Instead of gathering friends and buying every ppv I just stream online to the one or two good fights on the main event card and I find myself watching mostly old fights on fb now :( idk what it is but nowadays it just seems kinda formulaic and...sterile(?) 

10 days ago
10/14/12
Posts: 1155
It feels like when a small company I worked for (and LOVED everyone/everything at the job) was bought out by a bigger company and everything, including the atmosphere, changed. And for the worse.
10 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 5625

This is the best article I have read here yet. Nice work. I totally agree.

10 days ago
8/19/03
Posts: 28762

It definitely feels that way.  To me, its felt that way even farther back then Endeavor.  NHB/Cagefighting used to be a community that was kept afloat by a small group of people- fans, fighters, photographers, small sponsors on places like this,  and tape trading, websites, etc.

 

When TUF came along and big network TV got involved, it changed everything forever.   Nowadays, the sport, the athleticism, the technical prowess of the fighters has never been better.   It's a full fledged sport, but it just doesn't have the same soul.  I'm still happy that Dana is involved, because even though he hams it up more than he used to and is working a gimmick, he's at least one link to the past.  You can shit on him for his millions of dollars and how he acts today, but the guy was a huge advocate for the sport back in the dark ages.

 

I don't fault the different iterations of the company for wanting to scale up and grow and become more profitable, but the sport just feels completely soulless and homogenized now.

Edited: 9 days ago
5/1/11
Posts: 4837

I felt disconnected to the sport in some way which is why I decided to start podcasting and talking to people within the sport that interested me.  I have mostly avoided talking to current fighters for that reason.  I still enjoy watching the events though.

10 days ago
2/25/15
Posts: 1249

I feel way less connected but that’s mainly because I cancelled BT sport here as soon as they starting charging extra for PPV’s

10 days ago
10/2/08
Posts: 305

I agree with all thats been said, but times change and MMA is now a mainstream sport for better or worse. Perhaps the UFC was always going to lose some relevance as other organizations grew; I love watching ONE fights even if I can't pronounce half of the fighters names, let alone remember them, for instance. Now I simply watch as many fights as time allows, regardless of promotion. I watch UFC on ESPN+ (thanks to Disney+ bundle), ONE while I am at work, whatever else is on when I can. MMA is simply my go to sport, regardless of who is fighting.

10 days ago
2/27/20
Posts: 1827
StrikingMMA -
I kind of agree. The UFC doesn't have the same direction any more. I felt like the Fertitas were fight fans and cared more about the fights than just making money.

I can't imagine what it would be like if Dana was gone. He's still some connection to how it used to be.

This is exactly how I feel also.

 

I feel like I have more of a connection with ONE these days because of speaking to Chatri on twitter a few times as stupid as that sounds.

 

WME has alienated fans for sure.  I would be surprised if many fighters did not also feel that way.

 

9 days ago
3/23/06
Posts: 6865

I forgot to say, i think part of the reason the UFC made “fan friendly fights” is because there was so much competition back in the day.  Zuffa pushed to stay on top.  it feels like since the sale the other organizations outside of the UFC are kind of just following along instead of trying to be a UFC competitor.  The monopoly Zuffa created by buying out all the competition was good because we got to see the best vs the best, but now I feel longterm it would have been better with 2-3 elite orgs.  It feels like UFC isn’t worried about any competition, therefore they can budget whatever they want and make cards from a fincacial standpoint.  

9 days ago
1/9/02
Posts: 52021

this happens in coprorate america over and over again

 

small business owner builds something special, bigger comapnies start noticing potential moeny making opportunities or competition and swoop in like vultures and buy it up and kill everything that made it special in the first place

 

wal mart has been doing this to grocery stores since the 1960's

9 days ago
2/29/16
Posts: 7216

During 2005 - 2006 I used to email Forrest Griffin's hotmail very couple of weeks and he'd reply.

 

That's how easy it used to be.

9 days ago
5/1/11
Posts: 4839
Mandible_Claw -

During 2005 - 2006 I used to email Forrest Griffin's hotmail very couple of weeks and he'd reply.

 

That's how easy it used to be.

It was definitely a different time back then.  We were all part of something that was growing and we could grow with it.

9 days ago
1/9/02
Posts: 52031
Mandible_Claw -

During 2005 - 2006 I used to email Forrest Griffin's hotmail very couple of weeks and he'd reply.

 

That's how easy it used to be.

I used to talk to Dana at BJJ competitions in 2002

fighter bashing has always happened on here but anyone that did it used to get jumped on by almost everyone on the forum for doing so.

9 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 2943

The amount of men in tight fitting suits with striped socks, earpieces, and clipboards running around  has increased exponentially. Totally different feel than Zuffa days.

9 days ago
7/22/15
Posts: 5594

Well, they put the next shitty card together without asking me, worst card ever. 

9 days ago
3/15/10
Posts: 24458

9 days ago
1/22/03
Posts: 55297
Watched since UFC 2. Grappling rules, Striking starts to rule, fighting styles in UFC begin total homogenization.

Remember the Couture era and new waves of fans popping up and the aftermath:

One month a man asks "Why are they rolling around" next month the same man can list every fighters record in detail. Year later that man no longer watches.

Time goes on, Frankie Edgar, Cerrone and the gate keepers keep it going for me but in last year its just over. Done. Watch Kron tap a guy and wave goodbye to UFC for me.


9 days ago
2/25/15
Posts: 1250
donnybrook -

The amount of men in tight fitting suits with striped socks, earpieces, and clipboards running around  has increased exponentially. Totally different feel than Zuffa days.

What’s wrong with striped socks?