Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) needed to prove it was a somewhat-legitimate sport when trying to secure stateside legislation, including New York, so now that it’s legalized in most of the important markets, it can set its sights on making as much money as possible.
Let’s not pretend Ari Emanuel bought UFC because he’s a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan.
WME | IMG is in this to make money (and it did), which is why a heavyweight fighter without a legitimate win in eight years — who is also coming off a failed drug test — can waltz back into the Octagon and secure a division title shot.
Without the respect of No. 3-ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes.
“I don’t even view Brock as a legitimate MMA fighter,” Blaydes told Submission Radio. “He was juiced to the gills when he fought in the early to mid-2000’s. So I don’t respect juice heads. This isn’t a sport. It’s not a sport like the NFL or the NBA or MLB or NHL or any other major sports leagues in the world, because in any of those leagues you can’t just be a guy off the street and just take a guy’s spot on the roster cause you’re famous. That would be like if Will Smith was like, ‘yo, I really like the Lakers, I want to play for the Lakers’. I don’t think skill matters quite as much as marketability.”
That’s why a guy like CM Punk was given two UFC fights and $1,000,000 for his efforts.
If UFC was an actual sport and adhered to the division rankings, there’s a strong chance Blaydes would be in line for the next title shot, or at the very least, would be in a title-eliminator against someone like Stipe Miocic (No. 1) or Derrick Lewis (No. 2).
Instead, he’ll run it back with former title contender Francis Ngannou, who holds a win over “Razor” from their UFC Fight Night 86 clash in early 2016. While “The Predator” is coming off back-to-back losses, the opportunity to avenge a previous loss was too much for the money-chasing Blaydes to pass up.
Spoken like a true sportsman.