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Does MMA need a Wrestlemania?

Adam Swift over at MMA Payout breaks down the huge numbers this year’s Wrestlemania did. Normally I couldn’t care less about what boxing or pro wrestling is doing in comparison to the UFC … it just seems like a pissing match and no one has been able to determine if rises or dips in one sport contribute to rises or dips in another. But tucked down at the end is this interesting point:

The power of recurring event branding has yet to be unleashed in MMA. The UFC has began establishing its December show as the biggest of the year, but hasn’t chosen to do recurring branding for it or any of its events. When will MMA establish its Superbowl, World Series, Daytona 500, WrestleMania, etc.?

The UFC basically has it’s big New Years Eve show, and it also tries to do something impressive on Superbowl weekend. And there’s also what seems to be an annual tradition of coming to Columbus Ohio during the Arnolds. That’s about as close as they get to any kind of regular branding for it’s shows, which is too bad because some branding would mean less stupid names like “Ill Will” and “Validation” every year.

K1’s branded “Dynamite” shows are their biggest and most prestigious events. PRIDE had it’s Open Weight Grand Prix with it’s Critical Absolute events and such. You don’t even have to look at it as something that happens every year at a specific time at a specific place. The UFC could just create an event name and wheel it out every time there’s a retarded card. The whole thing is mainly just a marketing gimmick, but as a former event promoter, trust me when I say it freaking works.My bet is you’re not going to be seeing this for a while because Zuffa is content on just using constant pressure to build the UFC as an overall brand rather than targeting a specific event. I can’t fault their reasoning for doing this … you see Wrestlemania numbers pop waaaaay over what any other wrestling PPV does and you wonder if most average fans have decided that it’s the only one that’s really worth paying for.

  • garth

    i’d think three or four recurring events would be cool. the regulatory agencies would have an easier time of it as well as the fighters etc.
    maybe quarterly or biannual “big ones”

  • Gavin

    As a former event promoter you should set up a Jackal Grand Prix, and determine a champion to take on a challenger from fiveounces.

  • Atom

    the regulatory agencies would have an easier time of it as well as the fighters etc.

    Why do you say that? What effect would it have on the A.C.’s if they use the same name over

  • clint notestine

    Maybe thats why changed its name to mmamania!

  • Captain

    “you see Wrestlemania numbers pop waaaaay over what any other wrestling PPV does and you wonder if most average fans have decided that it’s the only one that’s really worth paying for”

    That’s a damn fine point, lad and I’m glad you caught it. I see you growing into the man I knew you would become.

  • godizllad

    They need to pick 11 good past PPV names and keep those. Just add the year at the end e.g. ”UFC: Breaking Point 2009” or ”UFC: Hostile Territory 2010” or ”UFC: Vendetta 2009”. For the New Years shows call them ”UFC: Final Conflict 2010”, because, yes, PRIDE had a couple cool names.

  • clint notestine

    “Shockwave” was a good Pride name they should use for there New Years show.

  • natureboy

    they also need to lose the numbers on the shows. even if they made them roman numerals the fact they do monthly shows they’re gonna be at triple digits in almost two years.

  • Throken

    Natureboy, there is an interview somewhere where Dana says that he wanted to drop the numbers, and they did, but everyone kept numbering them anyways when they talked about them, or referenced them. Personally, I like the numbers, because if someone is talking about UFC 64, I have an idea of where that is in the timeline, and relation to other fights. Whereas, if they say UFC-insert-stupid-name, I’m not going to have a clue.

    The problem, I think, with having a recurring event is that you have to distinguish it from other events. The obvious way to do that is to have bigger, better fights, but that ties up the talent for afterwards, and they’re all recovering. The next few events suck balls because everyone good was used up at the same time, and we bitch our asses off. An increase on PPV for one event isn’t worth decreasing the next one.

    So, anyone have any ideas on how you would do differently for your recurring event, that doesn’t involve tying up too many of your top guys?

  • fightlinker

    What, you’re expecting a practical, useful theory on how to put this into place??????

    I just poo on things.

  • Ted Dibiase

    everyone knows the royale rumble is better than wrestlemania!

    but for reals, a once a year “super stacked” event would be sweet. each weight division could have the title on the line or a #1 contender fight.

  • Amy Robinson

    I don’t think MMA could ever really produce an event that draws like Mania, mostly because WM is more about the entertainment than the wrestling. Lining up a big mma card alone would not mirror mania because of the lack of storylines.

    I do however think a huge yearly “superbowl” type card would be a benefit to the UFC. So far there big superbowl weekend show, the Columbus, and the December shows seem the closest to that.

    My idea is that they should go with the January date in Vegas with all the superbowl traffic and make it their huge show. Load the card, perhaps have a big name band play in arena around the fights, maybe pull some gimmicks with celebrity announcers, interviewers, or something, and hold a big fan festival convention weekend attached (similar to the Arnolds but all UFC) and they’d have the framework for a annual supershow.

  • P W

    By today’s shitty standards, an event like UFC34 would be considered a Superbowl-caliber showdown (for those who can’t remember the pre-TUF days/don’t want to google it, UFC34 featured fighters like Couture, Barnett, Hughes, Penn, Baroni, Tanner, Lindland, Mir, Uno and a bunch of other top names).