Quick ... off the top of your head, guess how many events Ultimate Fighting Championship held five years ago in 2007?
Okay, stop. That was a rhetorical question, I've already looked up the answer. It's 20. Between Jan. 25 -- Fight Night: Evans vs. Salmon -- and Dec. 29, 2007 -- UFC 79: Nemesis -- the UFC hosted 20 events.
That was the year Quinton Jackson and Mirko Filipovic finally made their Octagon debuts and on the same card, no less. It was also the year that saw Randy Couture come out of retirement to batter Tim Sylvia for five rounds en route to a record breaking third heavyweight title run.
Now, this isn't one of those "well, back in MY day" pieces, but here's some interesting food for thought.
In two weeks (August 4), UFC on Fox 4 will go down in Los Angeles, CA. Eight months into 2012, the nationally broadcast event will be the 20th the UFC has offered this year.
And with four months remaining, there are still nearly 10 events to go before 2012 wraps up. That's more than 300 fights in total once all is said and done and after last night's dreadful UFC 149 event, one has to wonder if the UFC is simply running more events than its talent pool can manage.
People have always warned of getting "too much of a good thing."
Is that the problem afflicting mixed martial arts (MMA) right now?
And yes, by my count that's three pay-per-view events in one month. Throw in last week's UFC on FUEL TV 4 event and you've got an average of one fight card a week. Sounds great, right? Well, not quite.
The cards have become increasingly top heavy. UFC President Dana White used to criticize the boxing model for having one big headliner littered with undercard bouts no one cared about, but his company is slowly but surely moving along this path.
I love fights. I've been watching for nearly two decades and don't anticipate stopping any time soon. So it's not a simple issue of there being too many fights -- the more, better I say. But when a company doesn't have the talent pool -- even one as large the UFC -- to support nearly three dozen events, it's time to scale back.
Of course, this plea will likely fall on deaf ears. As long as the UFC is successful in selling out -- or nearly selling out -- each event, there's simply no financial incentive to cut down on the number of events. If the tickets are being sold, the event count will continue to grow.
And that's exactly why fans should let the UFC know how they feel with their wallets. If you complained about last night's card going into the event, but purchased it anyway, congratulations, you're part of the problem.
If we want stellar events with fights we care about from the main card all the way down to FX "Prelims," we need to let the UFC know we deserve better than cards like last night. And unless the number of great MMA fighters suddenly explodes in the next few months, the only way to accomplish this by having less events.
After all, the fans are everything.