I don’t know if the UFC is putting on the best cards any more. Frankly, I don’t know if they are even putting on the 2nd best cards right now. The next few UFC events are mediocre at best. Granted, it is not all the UFC’s fault. Injuries have caused them to change their plans on several cards. Initally UFC 106, 107, and 108 were going to be mega cards. Now, I don’t know if I will purchase them.
UFC 106 was scheduled to feature a heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, but Lesnar’s prolonged illness forced that to be scrapped. Now the main event is a re-match of a fight between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin. While both have large fan bases neither has won a significant fight for a while. This fight was a solid co-main event, but not a good main event. The card took another hit when the Ricardo Almeida withdrew from his bout with Jon Fitch. The UFC’s answer…replace it with a fight between Phil Baroni and Amir Sadollah. Neither guy has shown the skill to be even a mid-level fighter. Meanwhile a few solid fights remain on the undercard. Poor decision making by UFC.
UFC 107 was expected to feature a main event of TUF 10 coaches Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans. That would be a big draw. However, Jackson elected to play B.A. Baracus in the new A-Team movie rather than fighting Evans. Not the UFC’s fault. Their answer…Diego Sanchez vs. B.J. Penn. I like this fight. It is main event worthy. However, the card lacks support. The Fitch vs. Alves fight was booked for a few days until Alves was forced off with injury. The Buentello vs. Duffee fight excited me, but Duffee was forced off with injury and replaced by Stefan Struve. I like the Mir vs. Kongo and Florian vs. Guida match ups though. UFC 107 is worth my money, but I still question the UFC’s replacements. I don’t get replacing Alves with Mike Pierce.
UFC 108 has been hurt big time. This was originally going to be AndersonS ilva vs. Vitor Belfort, however Silva will not be recovered from elbow surgery in time. Then this was supposed to be where Carwin vs. Lesnar was moved, but again the fight has been pushed back. The UFC did good and found a heavyweight clash with title implications between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. However, serious staph infection has forced Nogueira out of the bout. Three solid main events down, so what does the UFC do? Make Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva the main event. I mean come on. I like the fight, but not as a main event. Silva is good and exciting, but is he ready for main events? This again was a good co-main event, but as the main event I may not order it. The rest of the card is better than avergae. Tyson Griffin vs. Jim Miller, Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout, Carlos Condit vs. Paul Daley. However, the card lacks a main event.
The common denominator right now is a lack of main events. Losing Henderson and Rampage hurt the UFC. Injuries to champion St. Pierre, Silva, Machida and Lesnar really hurt. Several main events are on the docket though. You’ve got Silva vs. Belfort, Lesnar vs. Carwin, Shogun vs. Machida II, St. Pierre vs. Hardy. Perhaps November-January will stink for the UFC and traditionally big cards like their New Year’s and Super Bowl cards will be less than stellar. However, with all these fights coming up maybe March-June will be good months.
The bottom line is Strikeforce is ebating the UFC. Strikeforce consistenly is putting on better cards. Would you rather watch Fedor vs. Rogers or Ortiz vs. Griffin? The crappy buys UFC 106 will get will answer that one. Even Strikeforce’s Dec. 19th card is better on paper than anything the UFC has coming up. Sorry UFC, move over Strikeforce and even WEC are putting on better cards than you. I think they are seeing that the falure to purchase EliteXC was a mistake.
The solution? Better matchmaking. Some managment changes. Sign Henderson back. Find better main events. Stop making fair co-main event fights main events. WEC merger. A big name signing. Stop putting fights like Baroni-Sadollah on the main card.
I have always been a huge UFC guy. I root for the UFC to do well. However, I think the UFC is in serious trouble and they may be uprooted as the premeire MMA organization in 2010.