FanPost

What's holding up the UFC? 5 major factors affecting the promotion's growth.

Chuck-liddell_medium

via prommanow.com

What'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. Dana-white-doucheag_medium

via ftrsports.com

1. 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. Money_medium

via faithfulinprayer.files.wordpress.com

2. Fighter salaries This topic has been especially controversial due to the recent piece by ESPN. As the UFC moves towards mainstream legitimacy, the meager salaries they offer their entry-level fighters will always come into question. The salaries of many other sports professionals are astronomically ridiculous and beyond explanation. However, the other end of the spectrum is also unworthy of defending. This is especially true when one considers the physicality and likelihood of serious injury associated with these athletes. Hopefully, with the creation of a health plan, the UFC will continue to push new directives that better compensate all their fighters. Thiago-silva-4_medium

via mmajunkie.com

3. 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. Mma_g_jjones2_sy_576_medium

via cdn1.sbnation.com

4. The need to create new Stars The UFC has been excellent at building and hyping new stars. Consider some of the star power seen on cards of the past: 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. Koscheck_252c_josh__2528swollen_right_eye_courtesy_of_gsp_2527s_left_jab_at_ufc_124_noncloseup_2529_medium

via 1.bp.blogspot.com

5. Fighter injuries This is a no brainer. With an increased roster and less spots, fighters train harder to compete at their best. This often leads to training-related injuries that set fighters back and cancel major ppv draws at the last second. Even with a last minute replacement, fans who were looking for that one specific matchup may opt out of buying the card. There you have it Maniacs, some of my thoughts on the issues holding the UFC back in the short-term. Hope you enjoyed reading. -Judo.
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