Is UFC Being Run Into the Ground?

After another ratings failure questions are being asked about the pacing of UFC events. For some time it has been argued that the enhanced pacing of the UFC cards and virtual saturation of TV slots has been counterproductive to promoting the sport. ‘Fans are becoming desensitized to the UFC and MMA in general,’ said one commentator.

Dana WhiteThe UFC hosts 13 events throughout the year, a weekly Friday Night Fight Night, and usually two or three seasons of the Ultimate Fighter. This means there is usually some product from Zuffa on TV at least twice a week. This has a number of consequences:

First, it makes promoting fights increasingly difficult. Dana White had promised there would never be women in the UFC, but had to reverse this stance when it became apparent fans were tiring of the relentless barrage of MMA telecasts each week.

Second, it means that more and more fighters must be drafted into the UFC to fill these timeslots. The consequence of this is a lowering of fight quality. The UFC has suffered a slew of almost unwatchable mismatches in recent times. Such fights diminish what was once the paragon of combat sports and the focus of world attention.

Third, by debasing the UFC through over exposure Zuffa are reducing MMA to the status of every other entertainment competing for audience attention. When the UFC first hit the international stage there was nothing else like it. With the small roster of fighters, fans were always left wanting more. And because of the exclusive nature of the events fight cards were always brimming with the best combatants from all kinds of fight backgrounds.

If responses to the last three UFC events are anything to go by, those days are well and truly gone. Fight talk on Twitter has consistently dwindled, ticket sales are down, Pay Per View subscriptions are falling with each fight.

The lesson here is that you can get too much of a good thing. There is a point of diminishing returns in everything, no matter how much we love it.

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