Dana White has done a masterful job growing the UFC and generating interest in MMA. But injuries and fight cancellations have plagued the organization. We discuss how it affects our UFC picks.
Cancel That Order
If the UFC was a fine dining restaurant many of the guests who flocked to enjoy the culinary delights of a chateaubriand, complemented splendidly by a hearts of palm risotto and a light hollandaise over baby asparagus, would be a bit miffed if the featured dishes continued to be sold out. Such is the case with the UFC, if you will indulge the analogy. Featured fights, not to mention undercard bouts, are being cancelled with alarming regularity and it costs the company a fortune while doing nothing to enhance their brand or cultivate goodwill amongst their PPV subscribers.
The most recent and high profile of these cancellations occurred when the highly anticipated showdown between UFC middleweight king Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of his scheduled showdown with the Notorious Conor McGregor. It was a unique bout for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the attraction of a champion versus champion event. So instead McGregor stepped all the way up from 145 pounds to 170, an unheard of jump in today’s combat sports, to meet the ever dangerous Nate Diaz at a weight that clearly favored the UFC odds underdog. The fight lost much of its luster, though Diaz was a controversial enough replacement to maintain some interest, and in the end Dana White’s top moneymaker lost the fight and much of his mystique.
This was not the first time McGregor had faced a last minute replacement as we all clearly remember the pivotal showdown between he and Jose Aldo being shut down after Aldo came up lame and immediately Chad Mendes was summoned. The UFC Featherweight title match had been demoted to a title elimination match with the winner getting Aldo and a contrived Interim Champion strap. McGregor finished Mendes in the second round and his bout with Aldo was made even more alluring one could argue. Yet, the frustrating string of cancelled feature fights remains an annoying staple within the organization.
When a featured fight is cancelled the live gate losses can be huge as well as the drop off in pay-per-view buys. After factoring in all the money that goes into marketing a fight coupled with the revenue losses when that main event is pulled, we are talking tens of millions of dollars not to mention the loss to the local economy that will see ancillary industries such as hotels, restaurants, casinos, car services and reverberating to the point where even escort services take a hit. Vegas and the UFC have a symbiotic relationship that is big business until one of the main attractions gets hurt.
Gamblers Get Punished
If you are more of an action junkie than a true student of the UFC then the absence of a star attraction getting injured only changes the name or names on the betting roster. However, if you are serious about honing in and locking on to a sharp side in your UFC picks then these sudden injuries can undo weeks of homework. It doesn’t even have to be a main event as most of the sharps will tell you that much of the value is found on the undercards and in the preliminaries that can only be seen with a UFC Fight Pass.
Therefore, when we invest our time into doing our due diligence only to see these fights collapse on what has become a far too regular basis what do we do? Should we merely shift gears or shift sports entirely? That choice is up to you but for now Dana White has a problem on his hands and the latest casualty could be Jon Jones’ recent arrest for violating probation and enflaming the situation by allegedly calling the police officer a “pig”. UFC 197 is now in jeopardy which illustrates injuries are not the only nemesis of Dana White but bad judgement as well, which seems to permeate every sport.
Nevertheless, for those fans who salivate over watching the baddest men on the planet square up and knuckle up as well as the bettors who put their money where their mouths are, it is a loss all the way around when high expectations fall victim to sudden cancellations. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier may be the next title tilt to be scrapped, but do stay tuned.