Thursday, December 12, 2013

The F*&% You Mean I'm Getting Too Much UFC?

I've resisted being "that guy" for awhile.
You know...the guy saying the UFC product is suffering, that it's watered down, that the cards are suffering overall. That we're watching TUF alumni fill out main card bouts rather than proven top 5 or top 10 level fighters.

A series of revelations have forced me to be honest and admit that I've been letting Belfort's TRT-pumped Cinderella man narrative build-up and the dethroning of Anderson Silva, and the great Jon Jones/Gustaffson fight hide the base reality: a considerable number of recent UFC cards which I missed due to working downtown at my other job, and honestly didn't even go watch for free or track down the next day were headlined by a great fight....but beyond that had virtually no pull or interest beyond perhaps 2 or 3 of the fights on the card.

The recent Nate Diaz/Gray Maynard fight comes to mind. Sure, it was a great fight with the usual Diaz bros. and co. antics. The rest of the card? The finals of a TUF series even the hardcore of hardcore fans did not watch? I couldn't even tell you who fought on that card because I took one look at the card and literally let it fly from my mind never to be remembered.

This weekend? Urijah Faber picks off another contender and Benavidez in Urijah Faber fashion will again fail to win the belt against a guy he already lost to and fans are not honestly calling to see mix it up again. Condit vs Brown was a compelling fight, but against, as long as GSP is champ, I'm not entirely interested in Condit rematching.

What's next in the coming weeks? Sure, Weidman vs Silva is compelling. This is the year end card. I used to wait months for this card.
The supporting cast is as follows: Ronda Rousey facing a woman she already arm-mangled previously. Josh Barnett will drag Travis Browne to the ground and sub him inside of a round. I'm predicting he gets mount, and Brown turns over and Barnett RNC's or arm-triangles him.
Fabricio Camoes vs Jim Miller? Diego Brandao vs Dustin Poirier? Exciting fight with Brandao and Poirier to be sure, but is it END OF THE YEAR main card PPV stuff?
This combined with the UFC's coming increase in PPV cost, more cards on FOX 1 (a good thing), but if I have cable, I can easily go somewhere and watch it while I eat mac n' cheese with bacon and soda as the fans of team sports cheer while winning the match! has me wondering how much more of the UFC is a good thing. Mostly what's been added to me is diminishing returns.

I won't even comment on the new digital network pay to see feeder cards in places like Singapore topic that's recently come to light.

Coming up in mid January we have Rockhold (who I do like but last got spinning back heel kick KO'd in his UFC debut) up against Phillippou. This is a headlining bout now. Fox sports or not, whatever, this is now the headliner material. The next most interesting bout is perhaps Dillashaw picking up another win or Derek Brunson (what up NC!) taking on the gigantor of a man, Yoel Romero who recently blasted the TUF Brazil guy who looked like he was the real deal up until that brutual KO.

This is the entirety of the card. Are there some interesting mid-level match-ups? No doubt. I alos understand the need to give exposure to mid-level guys so that we care when they fight for the belt.
Do I want to see Urijah Faber pick off another contender given the fact that he's lost to both interim and divisional bantamweight champ and lost to Aldo at featherweight?
I'll be standing downtown in the cold working my second job, wishing I was watching the UFC more because it will be cold than because I find the card compelling. The next day articles will cascade that the lighter weight classes don't finish fights and that Demetrious is the champ of a thin (get it?) division, and I guess we'll look to Anderson Silva rightfully obliterating Weidman to close out the year and Barnett will cut a promo after grappling Travis Browne into his second loss in a row.

Perhaps I'm being Negative Nancy, but perhaps, just perhaps, we're in a slump and things have become ho-hum because....well, they just are.
The narratives are lacking. The product is spread thing, and there's a transition looming on the horizon for MMA.

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