The UFC is looking to expand and grow it's brand and so far it is doing a damn good job. It went from being 'human cock-fighting' to one of the fastest growing phenomenons in the world.
The Ultimate Fighter reality show, Tito vs. Ken, Griffin vs. Bonnar and Chuck vs. Tito were all influential moments that led to the explosion of the UFC in the past 8 years.
What if the UFC followed the foot steps of it's wrasslin cousin World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and produce a weekly show? Clearly their expanding roster is making the division a literal 'cluster f**k' as you look at the lightweight division as their is possibly 5 number one contenders after Gray Maynard.
Would UFC become even more 'over saturated' or can the fans fulfill the demand?
January 11, 1993:
The world wrestling federation (WWF) opened it's doors to a weekly program that would change the wrasslin' game forever. It was used as a builder for it's pay per views and a new revenue stream. With the first wrestlemania happening just a few years earlier, the demand for WWF programming couldn't be filled.
November 12, 1993:
UFC 1: The Beginning was held in front of 2,800 fans at the McNichol's arena in Denver,Colorado, mixed martial arts would never be the same. The project of the Gracie's with SEG spawned what was the most talked about mixed martial arts event.
Allin all, 1993 was a big year for sports-entrainment and the comparisons of the brand would only be differed by the reality of combat. We fast forward and 131 UFC events have occurred, 13 seasons of the ultimate fighter (TUF), 25 fights nights, 4 UFC on Versus and countless numbers of fans have headed to the fastest growing sport.
The WWF now world wrestling entertainment has held hundreds of pay per views,Saturday night's main events,619 episodes of Smackdown! and 943 episodes of Monday Night Raw
The UFC is always looking at ways of growing the sport and maybe the next evolution is it's own version of a weekly show with live fights. The UFC currently works with Spike TV and Showtime to produce it's newly-acquired Strikeforce brand. According the last fighter summit they have close to 350 fighters. They have purchased Pride Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting, Affliction MMA and the World Fighting Alliance to name a select few. This has all happened in the past 10 years alone and i am sure the talks of owning Bellator Fighting Championships will start very shortly too.
The WWE bought World Championship Wrestling, American Wrestling Alliance, Florida Championship Wrestling and even gave money to Phildadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling to a name a small few.
See the common development?
The business format in which the UFC and WWE run is not the far off from one another but the UFC has the risk of injuries and the under print 'Card Subject to Change' occur a lot more frequently. If the UFC claims a stake of Bellator in the next year or so, could they run a local TV show of let's say..3-4 fights?.
They don't have to give away their top 200 guys away for free but, maybe use these shows as builders or rebuilders for fallen guys. Don King (ugh i know, i know) used the Prize Fighter system to build guys through much shorter fights to establish the next crop of contenders, why can't Dana and the UFC?.
BoDog Fight used a episodic driven theme to build fights throughout the show in which you would watch the entire program for maybe 1 or 2 fights and see what the guy or gal wne through to get to this fight/point. I love the idea because then like a tournament you grow attached to the fighter/character you have been building a sort of bond with.
There are more then enough fighters for the UFC empire and their are clearly enough mixed martial artists to supply the demand needed to fill a weekly show. Maybe a weekly show would be a lot but, how bout a bi-weekly show? or would so much free mixed martial arts hinder the numbers of pay per view buys?.
I'm not saying the UFC should emulate or steal the wrestling drama stuff but could a weekly show that hosts the primetimes, countdowns and live weekly fights be more effective. I enjoy how the UFC presents itself thus far but maybe they could shrink everything down into one melting pot. Plus there is so much unseen talent that the UFC could use this premise i propose to see who the next stars are. Let's say Fighter A becomes a huge hit after his KO on the last episode then us the Maniac's "what top 20 guy could he fight?' or in another example have Fight A vs. Fighter B earning a pay per view slot against Thiago Alves like in BoDog season 2 to start their climb up the UFC ranks.Let's also propose that Dan Hardy gets cut but wins a few back in merry ole' England. You place him on a fight card against the next big star on theUFC weekly show and see where the new kid is at against talent that got cut from the UFC.
You see Ricco Rodriguez, Tim Sylvia, Jeff Monson and Phil Baroni working smaller shows against top local talent but why not use these guys not good enough to crack the UFC top 200 and see if the new guys can bang a wiiley old veteran. Abe Wagner now can make some dough with Sylvia being on his resume and Faber exploded after he beat Jens Pulver in WEC made him a star.
Whatcha think Maniacs'