No cutting promos here
Many of you fans will disagree me on this, but I don’t think the UFC needs any more “ramping up”. Getting the best fighters in the world, with all their different styles and personalities, is good enough. I’m not saying the organization doesn’t need to be promote or look for economic gain – it’s a business, but at what cost? Like any good sport, I believe the entertainment value is within the sport itself, not the shameless self promotion of certain fighters at the cost of integrity. The UFC is particularly lucky – not only do they get to promote on such a primal and visual medium as fighting, but they get to do it with the best clientele in the world, period. What sparked these thoughts were the recent events concerning Conor McGregor and the UFC. Conor put out a tweet yesterday stating he was retiring from the UFC. “I’m retiring young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”, at first thought of as just a hack, Dana White took to ESPN confirming Conor had indeed been pulled from the UFC200 card due to not attending media obligations. Is he officially retired? who knows. He hasn’t been stripped of the title yet and Dana White claims both parties are still in “good standing”, so one would venture not. The implications are what’s really astounding. With a whole new can of worms opened up, the UFC can go anywhere from here. People are calling for GSP, Robbie Lawler, Jon Jones, I even heard a Chuck Liddell, all possibilities to head the historic card. Who knows maybe McGregor will come back in stunning fashion for New York. All this from unstaged actions, all this from letting the sport play out. I’m not saying everyone has to be as humble as a Jose Aldo or as outspoken as a Conor McGregor but the mix is what does us well. As in real life, we don’t need to manufacture problems, they will come. This is why money grabs like “CM Punk” and the blatant favoritism of the main event of UFC200 is so bad for the UFC. It seemed like Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita were going the WWE route. And while I mean no disrespect to my wrestling brethren, this is sport, not sports entertainment. Most watch because we don’t know what’s going to happen, we don’t want to see over the top scripted performances, we watch it to see the best in the world go toe to toe – no bullsh*t. Sure, fighters can cut promos if they really want to, but they shouldn’t have to. Frankie Edgar should get just as much shine and fair match ups as any other fighter as long as he’s in the win column. Not all fights are exciting, that’s fine, some of them are. You don’t tell the iron curtain Pittsburgh Steelers to play more offense because that’s what the fans want to see. While football isn’t a direct comparisson, the fact of sport still remains. This means the best fights the best, popular or not. While a media darling like Ronda Rousey definitely takes the sport places it’s never been, the much more reserved Holly Holm was also a great champion. What brought MMA to the main stream was when it started being viewed as a sport instead of a barbaric event. If it was purely spectacle then Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie would’ve been UFC’s biggest draw. It became popular when more rules were implemented, weight classes were put into effect, and we started to get to know the fighters stories instead of viewing them as just criminals or brutes. Ultimately, The sport will grow. As long as UFC and MMA as a whole continue to make progressive rules on weight cutting, PED’s, time between fights, more parents will see mma as a viable option. Maybe not as fast without over the top, eye catching match ups, but it will get there. It’s like anything else, you need to get to where you’re going without losing who you are. What do you guys think? Do you like the UFC’s new direction or should it matches be made solely on the basis of merit?