Like a kid finding his Christmas presents in his parent’s closet a week before Christmas, we kind of ruined the whole Mark Cuban MMA thing. While other kids danced with visions of sugarplums and Fedor vs Barnett dancing in their heads, we already knew last night that the ‘main event’ for Cuban’s first show was Paulson vs Ford.
Overall, we did pretty damned good at predicting everything with Cuban. He’s basically throwing shows in the arena he owns for the TV channel he owns. He’s not going overboard financially … he’s starting small and seeing where that goes. And hey, in a lot of ways that’s a good idea. After Fedor vs Barnett, there’s really nowhere to go but down. And considering the lineup for their first show, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
But let’s get to the point: No matter how tame the first offering, Cuban’s foray into MMA is good for the sport. Past his own show on October 14th, he’s planning on featuring 24 full fledged MMA events on his HDNet Fight Night program through 2008. Some of the names he mentioned were the IFO (Steele Cage), Art of War, and even the IFL.
24 shows is pretty significant, and that’s a lot of money and exposure for other promotion companies and fighters that they wouldn’t otherwise get. So while Cuban’s events may not set the world on fire, the framework that Cuban is building is going to help other MMA companies get off the ground and out of the Pay-Per-View trap they’ve been stuck in for years and years. It will also give non-UFC fighters an avenue to gain some real exposure and earn some decent cash.
Overall, Cuban’s deal is great for the sport, even if it makes us hardcore fans yawn.