Browsing all articles tagged with Nate Marquardt
Oct
12

The UFC Needs a Minor League – Point/Counterpoint:Part 2

Last week, we discussed why the UFC needs a secondary league. This week we are going to look at the negative side of a minor-league creation. This isn’t a reply to the points raised in the last article but rather a separate list of the disadvantages.

The UFC has too much programming to fill to cut the Roster
The UFC just signed a huge deal seven year deal with Fox. Fox will broadcast 10-12 events a year in addition to two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. With that amount of fights to program, the UFC will no longer need to create pay-per-view events. But if they do or don’t, that’s lot of events that are going to need fights and fighters to fight.

The Showtime deal becomes meaningless if Strikeforce becomes Triple A

When Strikeforce had elite MMA artists in their fold and the majority of the UFC events had to be watched on pay-per-view, the league was an appealing option for Showtime. Now, that the UFC is going to have the large presence on network TV and basic cable, why would you watch its lesser promotion on a pay cable channel? It loses a lot of it appeal, especially since Bellator is also on basic cable and is quickly surpassing Strikeforce as the #2 North American organization.

The Contenders shake themselves out naturally
There is an idea that current roster bloat in the UFC means that not everyone gets the shot they deserve. This is not true; it’s simply harder to get to the top of the mountain of challengers. A good demonstration of this is in the trio of welterweights Charlie Brenneman, Rick Story, and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson”.

A few months ago Brenneman replaced Nate Marquardt as Rick Story’s opponent at a UFC Live event. The Story-Marquardt matchup would have had title implications as Story was hot up-and-comer with five wins in a row, and Marquardt had contended for the UFC middleweight belt before. Brenneman surprised everyone by soundly out-wrestling Story and winning by decision. At the UFC Live event on October 1st, Brenneman’s opponent was Johnson, another fighter on a roll. Brenneman was vastly outmatched by Rumble and quickly TKO’d.

While some fighters have obvious style advantages over others, a UFC title contender has to be well-rounded in all aspects nowadays.  In two fights we learned that neither Brenneman nor Story is a legitimate title threat right now and that Anthony Johnson likely is.

The Ultimate Fighter and a minor league are redundant
The main reason the UFC doesn’t need a minor league is that they basically already have one with The Ultimate Fighter. While the reality contest has not produced a justifiable championship contender in recent seasons that is not its ultimate goal. The overarching goal is to supply the UFC with fresh blood. It does that fine.

The recent TUF winners and runner-ups will likely fight a few years in the UFC, hovering around the top ten in their weight-class. Then they’ll either be dropped from the UFC, become gatekeepers, or become belt-challengers. Not every move to the majors produces a star in any sport. But simply adding new guys to the conversation is enough to consider it a successful minor league.

So, what’s the actual conclusion? I don’t know. I’ve just made the arguments for both sides of the issue and each point I’ve made can be countered against. I do know that the UFC has successfully helped move itself and MMA into the mainstream media. That alone is exciting and I’m looking forward to see what develops next.