Why is the UFC not promoting Jones Vs Gustafsson?
With just eleven days to go before UFC light heavy weight Kingpin Jon Jones face off against number 1 ranked Swedish heavy handed contender Alexander Gustafsson, the promo and hype for the fight is nothing to write home about.
Go to the UFC front page at www.UFC.com, there is no single hype video for this event as of now.I am pretty sure if you ask a casual fan out there they are not aware that there is an event on September 21.Not to even talk about Jones fighting.Go to twitter and type in #ufc and follow the tweets, very few mention of Jones/Gustafsson. The least trending news in mma right now.
Jon Jones who is one of the top five draws in the company have enjoyed massive promo and hype leading up to his fights in the past but this was not the case after a series of events and his refusal to fight a new opponents on eight days notice cause the first ever cancellation of a UFC card.
This brings up a quote from Chael Sonnen when he mentioned that Jones will not enjoy the full reward for being in the UFC Team due to UFC 151 debacle. Now Chael is in that team enjoying the gift, hype, promo and every good thing the UFC Team has to offer. The same ship Jones was in before the fall out.
If the UFC is not going to give Jon Jones the right promo that he deserve to sell tons of PPV then Jones better start looking else where for a better offer. 400, 000 dollars show money is not enough for a Jones caliber fighter when you are getting Benson Henderson type of PPV promo. I am pretty sure Bellator will make Jones vice president if he decides to make the move over. Simple, if Dana and the UFC are not going to promote Jones like they do with Silva and GSP then Jones should move over to a promotion that will give him the ultimate respect. Now that Bellator have PPV, that will be a wise choice. The fans will follow him, i will.
So the big question is, why is Jones/Gustafsson not being heavily promoted?
Some might say it is because of the UFC tight schedule, others might say it is because of TUF, many might say it is because GUS is not a big enough name to promote.
What i think is Dana.
Dana forgives but he never forgets. Somewhere along the line he always get his revenge.
Jones cost the UFC two million dollars ( according to Dana White ), question the UFC for putting out thin cards for the fans, challenged Dana's decision for putting him in a tight spot and threatened to only promote his brand ( The Jon Bones brand ) and nothing more.
Dana eat all those words and smiled.
If Jones tank on PPV, his name, drawing power, pride and mystic goes along with it. The fans will laugh and Dana will be quick to say "he is not the draw that he think he is".
Let's be clear here, there is no ready made draw in any sport. A show without massive promo is bound to tank. If Floyd Mayweather is not getting huge promo and Primetime for all of his fight he will tank on PPV. You need huge promo to sell a draw.
GSP get massive promo whenever he fight.Two months tops. Same with Anderson Silva. Dana knows better. When Chris Weidman, a rising no name contender was about to take on the then Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, the promo for that fight was off the chain. Even when Silva refuse to fulfill his promotional obligation, the UFC still threw in their hype machine and came up with eight hype videos for the fight. EIGHT.
So far Jones/Gusstafsson only have two, a promo trailer and a countdown. Just the regular promo you will give to fighters like Renan Barao, Demetrious Johnson or Benson Henderson. That is what Jon Jones has been reduced to.
Liz Carmouche was not a star but the UFC still threw in the hype machine because they are aware of the implications if they don't. Same thing with Weidman going up against Anderson. If they can do that then why are they not promoting Gusstaffson who has a whole country supporting him?
People are going to say it is because of TUF, TUF just did the lowest ratings in the history of the show with 762000 viewers. And it is not because of the new channel at all because Ronda Rousey was pegged up there as one of the top five draws in the UFC and the biggest rising star in all of sport, period! Yet she can't even reach the one million mark like Chael Sonnen did when he fought Shogun on UFC fight night 26, that card drew in 1.7 million viewers for the channel and it is not even a title fight.( so much for "this is a new channel" excuse )
Nobody cares about TUF anymore Dana. promote Jones/Gustafsson, that is the fight people want to see. Nobody cares about drama, crying, bickering and low tier one/ two round fighting in TUF.
People want to watch stars fight, promote your stars Dana. Promote UFC 165.
My personal observation on why Dana is so adamant to promote Jones fight is this, after Jones did 700,000 PPV buys with Rashad he changed.He finally knew his worth. He started talking like a business man and started promoting his own brand just like Floyd Mayweather. Nike came in and Jones was regarded as one of the biggest rising force in the sport. Jones started talking about fight that makes more sense for his brand and PPV earnings. This got Dana really mad.
He sensed that Jones could easily bring in the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act to mma if he keeps up like that. And Dana was right, because since Jones stepped up to Dana things changed in the UFC. Other fighters start stepping up to Dana
Fighters with worth started negotiating for bigger contracts ( Anderson Silva 10 fight 600K to show and 800K to win contract), fighters start taking fights that make sense ( Vitor Belfort dictating only fights that will lift his brand ), Fighters start turning down bad fights ( Rashad turning down Glover on three weeks notice. )Dana didn't want that.
Dana went as far as saying " fighters are not business men, they are fighters, just fight. "
That is a very ignorant and disrespectful thing to say to fighters that brought you to where you are right now, if it wasn't for the big draws in the company, Tito, Chuck, Shamrock, Forrest, Couture, Rampage,GSP, Anderson, Lesner,Rashad, Jones , the UFC would have been out of business by now. The fighters should be respected and paid very well.
Jones is a proving draw, no matter the weather Jones still sells PPV.
UFC 145, Jones Vs Evans
The UFC hype machine did their job and Jones was able to pull 700,000 buys with a very weak Co main event.
UFC 152, Jones Vs Belfort
With a 9 to 1 odds and a lot of negative press going into the fight while UFC fans threatens to boycott Jones PPVs because he refuse to fight Chael, Jones pulled in 450,000 buys.
UFC 159, Jones Vs Sonnen
Jones a massive favorite and UFC fans vowing to boycott the PPV just to teach Dana a lesson for giving them a mismatch main event, Jones pulled in 550,000 buys.
There you have it, he is a draw.
Dana's actions will result to UFC 165 underselling in the box office and it will go a long way to affect Jon Jones brand. The media will write about how Jones will never be a PPV draw because he never was but the truth of the matter is, there is more than meets the eye.