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Where’s the hype for UFC 80?

Steve Seivert asks a question about UFC 80 that we’ve begun having to ask on a fairly regular basis: Where’s the hype?

While Penn is a major star fighting in a title bout for the vacant lightweight crown, there just doesn’t seem to be that much interest stateside in UFC 80 … the message boards aren’t lighting up like they do with other UFC events and the anticipation just doesn’t appear to be there this time out. Let me know if I’m missing something.

Since I’m not a ‘normal’ fan, I can’t really tell you if the UFC has done it’s job of advertising the fight to the casual viewer; I’d have to call my brother and ask him if UFC 80 ads between the latest James Bond marathon on Spike have done their job. My bet is they probably have – remember that BJ Penn was last seen on the TUF5 finale kicking Jens Pulver’s ass. So just your standard advertising campaign on television has probably done enough to get the average dude to consider picking this up if there’s nothing else happening next weekend.

As for the hardcore fans, I can explain to you why no one is talking about UFC 80: there’s way too fucking much going on. When Ken Pavia said that Joe Silva was booking up the next few months, he wasn’t joking. Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen more signings than we normally see in two months. It’s been apeshit bananas at UFC headquarters, and it’s completely overshadowed Penn/Stevenson in MMA internet circles.

You get a feeling that this is why the WWE goes to epic levels of retardation to try and keep their matchmaking and plans a secret: when you don’t control the release of information outside your company, it can torpedo your ability to build hype the way you normally would. If all these bookings hadn’t come out till after UFC80, then perhaps all the Joe vs BJ threads on forums wouldn’t have been buried so quickly.

Besides, most of the ‘hardcores’ know that Penn vs Stevenson is at best as competitive as Babalu/Liddell. In other words, Penn is a very clear favorite and it’ll be a huge upset if he loses. Werdum vs Gonzaga is a more intruiging bout because people finally get to see if Gonzaga’s win over CroCop really meant he deserves a spot in the top ten. And for Werdum it’s a chance to clear the stink of lameness from his fight with Arlovski. But it’s hard to get excited for any heavyweight match since I can’t remember the last exciting fight in that division. I’ve just been burnt too many times.

  • Amy Robinson

    Not just in this case, but with all their events I think the UFC could do tons more publicity and build up for their shows. They are way under-marketing things, there’s mountains more they could be doing, which would make a big differance in viewing and ticket numbers, not to mention promotion of the sport in general.

  • fightlinker

    it would be interesting to know how popular they’d be if it wasn’t for all the fan sites they seem to hate

  • godzillad

    Buddy, everyone had Babalu over Liddell before the fight. Not sure if Jake or Adam wrote this post but I know one of you didn’t even follow MMA that far back.

  • fightlinker

    Pffft, I know a lot of the JJ followers were going for Babs, but it was a delusional fantasy from the start.

    Oh, we’ll add the author tags back in … i’m the only one who does MMA commentary

  • Xavier

    I always gauge this by my mother, who is a casual MMA fan to the point of calling Chuck Liddell “Pitbull” because she thinks he looks like one and didn’t really like the TUF finale because “She didn’t know any of the guys names.” We’re talking so casual that she doesn’t even watch TUF, but will make sure she catches the PPV’s when there’s a “name” on the card.

    She knows UFC 80 is happening, but is not excited about it. So she found out somewhere, probably from the record number of bars I’ve seen with signs advertising it.

  • Autoguy

    the ufc probably makes more money not marketing it then if spend money marketing it and only get a few more ppv buys.

  • George (Without the S)

    Maybe the lack of marketing push is intentional. I seem to remember in all of Dana White’s conversations about the UFC in Europe he is always saying how he’s getting killed (loosing money)bringing the UFC there. Maybe the lack of marketing, means lack of profit, means something positive in the UFC’s braintrust’s grand scheme of things.
    “We can’t pay fighters more because we’re taking a bath putting on shows outside of the US, but we still believe in expansion (for the futures of our fighters).”
    Tax credits for % of lost revenue (?)
    Someone forgot to send the budgeting info to the PR agency (?)

  • Plague

    Xavier’s mom is just like mine. ‘Cept mine catches every PPV. Maybe the UFC should be marketing to fan’s mothers?!