From a fans standpoint the mixed martial arts world has been set ablaze after the announcement that the UFC has finally signed on for network deal partnering up with sport coverage powerhouse Fox.
No more then moments later it would be announced the UFC would make its return to network television with a special broadcast of two high profile fights on November 12th.
Since the announcement we have all speculated as to what fights would headline this card to make it to the Fox broadcast. Without immediately throwing names out, the UFC has to follow an ingredients list to make their "Boom" to impress their new partners.
I believe the ingredients are fairly easy to identify.
In order to really draw eyes the UFC will have to have at least one major name on the card. Since the sport is not mainstream quite yet it will be interesting to see who out of the short list they pick out. The fights will be free which will already garner plenty of interest however if the companies want the "wow" factor on its first broadcast a big name well have to be involved.
It is easy to identify the demographics want for heavyweights. In boxing and MMA alike the heavyweight division has been a hot watched commodity. From the days of Ali to Tyson in boxing to now Brock Lesnar in MMA. However, without Lesnar there is not a clear cut star in the heavyweight division. Selling the public on anyone short of Alistair Overeem and Cain Velasquez would be difficult.
The sports bigger names have retired. An ideal headlined show of either Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture would have gold for network television. Both of those legends have been retired and that really leaves Tito Ortiz who is coming off a loss.
Georges St. Pierre is the most logical choice if the UFC is open to abandoning PPV buys to really make its mark on Fox, however with an almost guaranteed 800K in PPV buys it might not be financially the choice the UFC will make. Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz are not yet household names.
Whoever is chosen to headline the event will be someone in the good graces of the UFC brass who will likely be getting the marketing push before and after the card. That means nobody on the bad end of a loosing streak and someone who the company knows going forward will be a star.
A guy like Vitor Belfort will be in prime position to cash in on his first round destruction of Yosihiro Akiyama. Somebody with loads of potential and opportunity for a marketing push, someone who is decently well known and has an exciting highlight reel to precede him.
Another person you can throw in this category is Jose Aldo is a part of a card with two titles attached to it. A young fighter who has the MMA world chirping as to whether he can become the next great fighter in this sport. A good showing on network television vaults him into the spotlight.
Age plays another factor in the decision making. Young budding prospects like Rory Macdonald and Jake Ellenberger who are on the brink of becoming superstars should also be on the radar.
An exciting fighter:
It was a bad time for Chris Lytle to retire. The UFC will be looking for the most exciting fighters to headline atop this card to really make a statement in the mind of viewers that this sport is entertaining and will deliver.
This doesn’t have to mean a knockout fighter, as mentioned Chris Lytle would have filled this role perfectly. Someone who can go the distance of 15 minutes but also be a threat to end the fight early. Fighters who can drop their opponent and submit them as well as being able to stop them with strikes.
Carlos Condit and BJ Penn would be an ideal match to move over. After all, this Fox partnership is big deal I don’t think it would be out of the question for the UFC to shuffle some cards this fall and winter.
Like every good plot, there tends to be a hero and a villain. The same works in sports, as we saw in the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight there were fans who choose sides pre fight which made the match that much more interesting and exciting. Personally, it was a real nail biter.
Should Anderson end the fight quickly with no damage against Okami this next weekend the Dana White proclaimed best fighter to ever fight may be an easy sell on network television. He has fans that love him and fans who love to hate him.
Chael Sonnen and Josh Koscheck are two personalities that also should be considered. They can set the fans on fire and if they get it to catch on network television that would be so good eye catching drama.
Does anyone have any other ingredients to add? Or with the ones listed what match ups do we want to see?