The old saying is that if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are destined to repeat them. Although the meteoric rise of the UFC over the last few years has been immune to such diversities as mainstream acceptance and a bleeding economy, when it comes to television ratings, they don’t seem to be that bullet proof.
The ultimate fighter, and other live events have had great success for Spike TV, and has helped widen their audience well testing well with their target demographic. However, even though they may not admit this, I think the UFC brass had higher hopes for their Ultimate Fighter series, especially during their current season which showcased their biggest household name in Brock Lesnar.
It is no secret that ratings were down this season, and with Lesnar being forced out of the season ending super fight with Junior Dos Santos due to a reoccurring bout with diverticulitus, it was no surprise why public interest had fallen off. Un-expecting injuries and illnesses are all part of professional sports, not just mixed martial arts. Unlike many other sports, the UFC has the ability to step up and fill these voids due to what seems a limitless talent pool of fighters, all willing to cash in on their colleges misfortunes. And soon they announced that Heavy weight slugger Shane Carwin would take his place.
The Ultimate fighter has always had its ups and downs in the past with injuries, popular fighters getting beat to early, dull coaches not exchanging trash talk and more. But each year the UFC still seems to announce a great pair of coaches that should the stars align, have the ability to have the best season ever.
I always believed that to be the case, until they announced that this next seasons coaches will be middle weight fighters Michael Bisping, and Jason Miller. First of all, Michael Bisping is a perfect choice for a coach as long as you have him coaching against a guy who you can get behind in hopes that during their fight he just might shut the brash British mouth once and for all, and with Miller having only 6 out of 24 wins come via knockout, one can’t bet on that happening.
I for one love Michael Bisping as a fighter. He brings a combination of great work ethics, an ever evolving skill set and a fast and furious pace to his fights that can make you over look his lack of knock out power. Will he be a champion one day? Probably not, but he will no doubt have a very successful career with a ton of victories over great fighters. It seems in the past, that whenever Bisping strings some wins together and steps up in competition, he fails to deliver, and get that one big win against a top tier fighter. He looked great in his last two fights, but neither Akiyama or Rivera are near the top of the division.
Miller on the other hand is relatively unknown amongst even the more then casual MMA fan. Having spent a huge part of his career over in Japan and fighting for other organizations, he has been bouncing around winning fights, but just like Bisping, he fails to pull off the big win when he steps up in pedigree. So why then would the UFC pick these two fighters as the next coaches? The answer is…well I don’t have one, and as far as I can see, no one else seems to either, except the UFC, who apparently feels confident to follow up this season with this selected cast of coaches.
My heart tells me that the UFC knows what they are doing, but my brain is telling me that they are setting themselves up for the worst season for ratings in the history of the Ultimate fighter. The UFC has made a career by cashing in on the unexpected, and sometimes even the worst fights on paper, make for some of the sports most memorable moments, but I feel that in this case, the star power just isn’t bright enough to stand out, and this may prove to be a step backwards from where the UFC is trying to take this sport.
I sat down, and came up with 3 options based on what is going on in each respected division, and fighter availability and came up with some choices that may have been more suitable, enticing, and definitely more profitable.
#1 George St.Pierre vs Anderson Silva:
Please make this fight happen so I can stop listening to the morons out there who actually believe this would be a competitive battle for pound for pound supremacy. Oh my God, I cant believe the number of people, and sports writers who I respect out there, that are pushing for this fight. What has George St.Pierre done in the past two years, that makes you believe he has what it takes to beat a guy like Anderson Silva? St.Pierre, although an amazing talent, would be taking a suicide mission in doing this, that would force him to vacate his welter weight title to put on the much needed beef to have even the slightest chance against the way bigger middle weight king pin. St.Pierre needs to figure out how to put away fighters in his own division, before he takes a step up the weight scale.
Prediction: Anderson Silva by destruction
#2 Michael Bisping vs Brian Stann:
Looking for your next captain America? What better way to find him, then creating a good old re-enactment of the revolutionary war. America vs Britain, Uncle Sam vs the Queen, Super Power vs Austin Powers in a well matched fight that could help launch the career of possibly a future champion is Stann. This was the easiest one to put together, it was so obvious, why not make this happen???
#3 Rashad Evans vs John Jones:
Don’t act like finding another fighter for Phil Davis to wrestle with would have been that hard. They should have pulled Rashad from this fight, and went on the momentum these two fighters had and fuelled the feud between them. I think Evans is the kind of guy you love to hate, and Jones is the quite guy that works hard during the day, and then tares his suit off and doubles as a super hero at night.
What is the UFC thinking? I hope I am wrong