Friday, January 25, 2008

UFC Has Lost Its Luster and Appeal

The UFC has lost momentum after a great run  over the last two years. I used to get excited and purchase the pay-per-views each month when fighters such as Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, and Anderson Silva were on the fight cards. Now Couture and Shamrock are  gone and Ortiz has stated he will also  leave after his next fight and go to another organization. This does not bold well for the UFC.

While the UFC still has stars such as Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, and Georges St.Pierre, there is still a shortage of superstars that the mainstream MMA fan want to see fight.  Last week, B.J. Penn defeated Joe Stevenson in the main event at UFC 80 in England. Many MMA fans did not purchase the pay-per-view because the show lacked superstars and the fights were held on Saturday afternoon instead of the usual Saturday evening time  each month due to the time difference between England and the United States. While B.J. Penn is a star, most fans expected him to beat Stevenson soundly and were just waiting to watch the fight on Youtube  for free the next day instead of spending their money for the show. 

The UFC had another fight card last Wednesday in Las Vegas but the fights once again were lackluster. The main event featured Mike Swick against Josh Burkman which ended in a three-round decision. Neither of the fighters put on an exciting show which left the live crowd to boo both fighters. The other fights that were shown on television were almost equally as unimpressive and boring as the main event. 

The next pay-per-view will be held next month and the card is weak once again. How many fight fans will shell out their  hard-earned money to watch Tim Sylvia in a main event against Antonio Nogueira?  Sylvia is known to have boring fights even though he wins most of them. He is definitely not what you would consider a crowd-pleaser. 

The other big fight on that card is former WWE wrestler Brock Lesner making his UFC debut against former UFC champion Frank Mir.  While most fans are intrigued by Lesner's potential and want to see him either shine or fail, this has the makings of a very boring fight. Lesner is very strong and a great wrestler while Mir is excellent at submissions. The two top fights on the card could be very slow-paced and you can expect a lot of boos if this is the case.

Other fighters on the card will include Alan Belcher,  Jeremy Horn, Rob Emerson, and David Heath. These guys don't make the average fan want to purchase the show or go to the local bar to watch the fights. 

Some of the more exciting fighters on the card  are Chris Lytle, Terry Martin, and Tyson Griffin. Unfortunately for the fans, none of these fighters are guaranteed to have their fights shown on the pay-per-view. Lytle and Martin both have fights which are prelims and that means only the live crowd will be able to see it. 

Tito Ortiz is not an exciting fighter by any means but I would pay to watch him fight because of his personality and charisma. He knows how to sell a fight and is a good showman. The UFC needs more fighters and entertainers like him but it seems he is on his way out after his next fight with Lyoto Machida. I used to buy every UFC show each month but now I will just buy the ones where there are good fight cards. I will be skipping the card in February  but I will order the pay-per-view in March because I want to see Dan Henderson fight Anderson Silva.  Silva is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC right now. Although he doesn't speak much English, he is very marketable due to his amazing skills in the Octagon. 

Dana White might think that it would be bad business to have all non-white fighters hold titles but that might not be the case. Rampage Jackson is  one of the funniest fighters and best personalities that the UFC has right now and he is their Light Heavyweight Champion. Fans order the pay-per-views just to see Silva destroy his opponents  and break body parts. B.J. Penn is the best pound for pound fighter in MMA. 

Fans can look forward to Jackson vs Forrest Griffin in the spring and also Matt Serra vs St.Pierre. I will definitely be watching those fights but I will skip the ones with Sylvia, Michael Bisping, or Josh Burkman headlining. I rather watch Kimbo Slice vs Tank Abbott or Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le than a weak UFC card.

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