via prommanow.comWhat's up Maniacs, 2011 was a very interesting year for MMA. We saw the emergence of a new light-heavyweight champion, an unexpected retirement from the sports biggest draw, the UFC's buyout of Strikeforce and a steady decline in ppv sales. So what went wrong? One could not be faulted for believing that such a banner year for the company would correlate to record ppv sales. Join me after the jump to see some of the potential factors impeding the UFC's progress.
This list is just an amalgamation of my own thoughts as to why the UFC saw a decline last year.
via ftrsports.com1. Dana White I can already see the backlash, but hear me out. Dana has been pivotal in getting the UFC where it is today. There is no doubt that he has pushed for the majority of the positive initiatives that have helped legitimize the sport. He chased regulation where others had been tryig to avoid it. Dana forged ahead when the company seemed to be going nowhere. However, as the company has evolved, Dana has failed to do so. His over-reliance in the Don King style of over the top promoting can sometimes lead to over-promising and under-delivering. He has also shown his overly temperental and unprofessional attitude in situations where another league President would have chosen his words more carefully. His shoot from the hip style is attractive to many of the sports younger male demographic, but it can backfire when dealing with media, policy-makers and casual fans.
via mmajunkie.com3. Drug-testing/Illegal substance abuse This is not isolated to the UFC. Athletes in practically every sport indulge in this activity. However, the light punishments and inconsistent rulings have cast doubt over the true rationale behind how each guilty party is dealt with. Take for example, the cases of Nate Marquardt and Chael Sonnen. Two fighters who were guilty of the same infraction. Yet Sonnen, a serious title contender with the gift for gab and an ability to sell fights was welcomed back with open arms. Marquardt on the other hand, was immediately fired and dragged through the mud by the UFC brass. Better drug testing and more consistent punishments are necessary in legitimizing the sport. Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes, Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar. These fighters are the old guard, either retiring or winding down in their careers. The next generation of fighter is arguably more well-rounded and better in every area. However, for some reason, the UFC has failed to capitalize on ths new breed of fighter. There could be several reasons for this. As the company grows, expectations do as well, and while the UFC has been relatively isolated from the world financial crisis, it could just be that less people can afford to buy a growing number of pay per view cards. The number of fighters on the roster has also grown significantly, meaning that some of the crowd favourites are fighting less often. Finally, barring Rashad Evans/Rampage Jackson, there have not really been serious rivalries to keep fans salivating either.