The UFC has been having some issues getting it’s big FOX events up and going. Either the fights don’t deliver when everyone is watching or barnburners go unseen because there wasn’t enough starpower to keep people in on a Saturday night. The solution seems pretty simple to me: one big fight to draw eyes, and several guaranteed barnburners on the undercard to ensure satisfaction for all who tuned in.
That formula has been somewhat hard to hit lately due to the injury bug and certain fighters having their guaranteed barnburner cards revoked (shame on you, Clay Guida). But how did we ever get to the point where Shogun Rua vs Brandon Vera leads one of these cards? These FOX events were supposed to be the events that would take the sport to the next level. Instead it’s so bad that Dana White is waving his arms around screaming ‘contender fights contender fights!’ in the hopes that people will care.
His other strategy: remind everyone how awesome Shogun is.
“Shogun Rua just came off the fight of the year last year and he’s probably one of the greatest fighters in the world in the last decade. This guy knocked out Rampage (Jackson), knocked out Chuck Liddell, knocked out Mark Coleman, knocked out Lyoto Machida, knocked out Forrest Griffin, knocked out Alistair Overeem twice, submitted Kevin Randleman. A win puts this guy right back into position, and he’s probably the No. 2 guy in the world.”
Now that’s a strategy I can get behind, and maybe if the UFC was a bit more honest about this being a showcase of Rua’s destructive abilities, more people could get behind his fight. That’s probably expecting the promotion to be a bit more candid than is proper. “We just wanna do Shogun vs Jones II in Brazil because money!” True. But there are probably better ways of spinning it to the fans.
Making Shogun look good + making Quinton look bad. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.