Any time the UFC fails to do great numbers, everyone starts flipping out. It’s the natural state of an MMA blog to frantically question all that happens, and I live in a wood-log style cabin made out of gold plated Porsches off of doing just that – over reacting to every incident in MMA with enough of an angle to do so, real or imagined. But this ‘oversaturation’ thing that some seem to think is going to kidnap, bugger, and murder our infant sport like a lazy-eyed stranger with candy … I just don’t buy it.
Bloody Elbow and Dave Meltzer (who’s pro wrestling roots probably have him worried he’s seeing another fad booming/busting) sum up the latest evidence of possible overexposure by pointing to the ratings for UFC 118’s countdown and prelim shows, plus average ratings on Versus for both WEC and the UFC on Versus featuring Unknown Prodigy vs Boring Russian Guy.
Sure, ratings and numbers are down for shows that aren’t promoted well, have crappy lineups, or don’t have the UFC label to prop themselves up. But that ignores the more important trend of impressive buys for not so impressive cards. Like 570k buys for UFC 118, which featured a rematch that only happened because BJ Penn sucked so hard the first time around and Randy Couture tapping a huckster.
UFC 117: 600k off the strength of a loudmouth idiot who talked some good trash. UFC 116 used Brock’s cocksworded chest to benchpress over a million buys. UFC 115 did over half a million buys for a late replacement fight between a guy who needs to retire versus a guy who’s been wandering the wilderness since Anderson Silva crushed him in 2007. The list goes on and on.
The fact is: good cards do well. And not ‘good’ in the Dana White spin sense that ‘all cards are good, even the ones with lineups that aren’t’. I mean events that people are excited to watch from the moment it’s fights are booked. This weekend’s card is probably not gonna sell, and ratings for UFC 120 might not be so hot. I’m sure that will push the current ‘hmmm’ attitude to a full blown ‘OMG WHO IS DRIVING BEAR IS DRIVING HOW CAN THIS BE?’ hysteria not seen since the 2009 Gypsy Curse days.
But instead of looking at some insidious trend underneath the surface, why not look at the crap on the surface instead? UFC 119 is going to get exactly what it deserves based on it’s lineup and the effort the UFC has put into promoting it. Ditto 120. Until the UFC starts limping on cards that should have strutted, I’m not going to worry too much.
There’s obviously issues the company needs to take care of, and they might want to tweak their strategy with Spike so there’s more time spent pushing people towards existing shows and events instead of just adding more events to the schedule. But I don’t see overexposure. Not yet, anyways.