Cleat Geeks

One Fact Remains: MMA Cannot be Commercialized

It has been said many times over the years, in the sport of MMA, styles make fights. Most casual fans do not recognize the revolving door that we are currently stuck in, and we have no one else to blame but the UFC itself.

anderson_silva_and_chris_weidman.0Anderson Silva looked to be an annoyingly unstoppable force until he met Chris Weidman. Why is it that Silva can make every other fighter look completely silly in the cage, but couldn’t rattle Weidman in two fights? No matter how great an athlete is, they always have their match in this sport. Nate Diaz took it on the chin when Conor McGregor called him a bum. He did an even better job when “The Notorious” one threw every punch and kick in his arsenal Saturday night at the MGM Grand. Once Diaz returned the blows, Conor couldn’t stand, and even elected to take the Cesar Gracie Jui Jitsu black belt to the ground. At that moment, I was only waiting until the submission was completed. To Conor’s credit, he was able to get out of a nasty guillotine choke, but after a shot from Nate in the mounted position, he gave Diaz his back, and ultimately the fight.

Conor McGregor was initially slated to face Rafael Dos Anjos. The current lightweight champ already has a very decisive win over last night’s winner, Nate Diaz. That is why that fight doesn’t have a whole lot of appeal at the moment. Miesha Tate stole the belt from Holly Holm in last night’s contest with only two minutes left in a fight that she was losing. That consequently stole some of the fire from the Holm, Rousey rematch. But who honestly wants to see Ronda and Miesha fight for a third time? Ronda tapped Tate in the 1st round of their Strikeforce Championship bout, and then again in the 3rd round of their UFC title fight. Holm crushed Rousey, Rousey embarrassed Tate, and Tate just beat Holm. This revolving door can be seen in every division of the sport.

dana_white_wallpaper_oliengnetYou can’t blame Dana White for running the UFC the way he does. In fact, I respect him more than any commissioner of any other sport. It just seems that the moment he gets behind a fighter, they fall in some incredibly disastrous fashion. Jon Jones was on the cover of the first UFC EA Sports video game, but one failed drug test, and a hit and run arrest led to him being stripped of the title. Paige VanZant looked to be the second coming of Ronda Rousey, until she was submitted by Rose Namajunas in a Fight Pass main event. Sage Northcutt looked to be the perfect MMA specimen. The UFC was also criticized for giving Sage an easy avenue to succeed. Then he was forced into a short notice fight with a virtually unknown fighter (Bryan Barberena), who took Sage out in apparently easy fashion. Now, just before the UFC 2 video game is set to be released, we have two tainted fighters on its cover (Rousey and McGregor).

This can even be traced to the middleweight division. Weidman was defeated by Rockhold, Rockhold lost to Vitor Belfort, and Weidman thoroughly beat Belfort. This is a hard sport to market in the sense that it is unlike the NBA and NFL. Peyton Manning had a very rough season last year, and was even benched, but when he won the Super Bowl last month, that was all but forgotten. LeBron James is scrutinized on a daily basis, but the man has been in the last five championship series in his sport. Now, he only won two of those five, but that is impossible to do in the UFC. You can’t have just a few good teams in a sea of mediocrity like we do in the NFL and NBA. Each individual fighter needs to able to market themselves to get the fans excited. No one was able to do that over the last calendar year like Conor McGregor, but he showed us last night, every great prefight has to end in a cage. We will see another great run in the UFC. If Jon Jones defeats Daniel Cormier and gets his light heavyweight belt back, this may happen sooner than later. But one thing is for certain, this is not a sport that can be carried by a few select fighters. The torch will continue to pass from hand to hand for the rest of our lives, and we’re all just along for the ride.

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