UFC 129 features the much anticipated fight between arguable best pound-for-pound fighter George St. Pierre against former Strikeforce champion and the man many consider the last option for stopping GSP outside of Anderson Silva, Jake Shields. The show also covets what Randy Couture has said what will be his last fight against Lyoto Machida even though he had back off retirement talk after making the statement earlier.
What makes this UFC show more interesting is twofold, it has an hour earlier start time and all 12 bouts will appear between Facebook (5), Spike TV (2) and then the typical five on PPV. UFC President Dana White has said for many years that he would like to air complete cards and it appears that he will be able to do so beginning with UFC 129.
There are a number of issues with airing all twelve fights whether on various media or another outlet, there are still thousands of UFC fans who do not have access to Facebook, which is a minor concern. There are times when the fights on Spike are short lived and either another fight needs to be aired or the announcers have a lot of time to kill. As for the PPV, it is scheduled to be three hours but again, if fights go to short endings, there will be a lot of time to kill. Outside of airing the prelims that have already been seen on Facebook or on Spike, there are not a lot of options.
Regardless of where you have seen a fight unless it is off the charts you are really not interested in seeing it again, especially in the middle of a PPV that you are paying $44.95 to watch only to see a match you have already watched. While MMA fighting is unpredictable what will become predictable will be the matches that will go the distance now and be left to judges in an effort to kill time and will most certainly pure the UFC under the microscope for being more pro wrestling like, more scripted.
Go Fight Live, an on-line pay-per-stream web site which offers a variety of indie MMA as well as pro wrestling iPPVs among other offerings has been streaming entire fight cards for some time now. Ring of Honor has been one of their major players along now with Juggalo Championship Wrestling and GFL seems to be growing in popularity. They offer free content as well as iPPVs that generally are $15 or less depending on the group holding the event. GLF and iPPV is quickly becoming a terrific revenue generating source for local MMA promotions as well as struggling indie wrestling promotions or existing wrestling promotions who are not powerful enough to pay for a normal PPV show or who do not have TV but have an good internet cult following.
Local business could be affected by a lower turn-out and less business because of the moves perpetuated by the UFC. One Lima establishment, Buffalo Wild Wings is one such place that relies on the monthly PPVs put on by wrestling and the UFC. “The earlier start time worries me more than the other fights being free” Lima Manage Karen said. “That cuts into our dinner hour and as soon as the fight is over we are basically closed, our late night sales go out the door.”
“I do not think having the earlier fights on for free will be a big factor because people come to BWs because it is a social thing, they want to talk smack. You feel the energy in the restaurant and what they come to see is always the main event” she added.
How big of an impact these moves by the UFC may take months for businesses to actually see how big of an effect that it may have. “It may be months before we realize just how it will affect us but it is something I am going to have to keep an eye on” Karen told me. The move by the UFC to an hour earlier start time may be a smart thing where the UFC is concerned but for businesses it could be the one thing that hurts them the most. Airing the entire fight card may be detrimental for all concerned, especially if the UFC is hoping for an increase in PPV buy rates, which have dropped off in recent months.
–Rich Franklin is set to face Antonio Rogerio Norgueria at UFC 133.
–David Hart Smith, son of former pro wrestling star Davey Boy Smith, who passed away due to an exploding heart from abuses, is said to be considering a career in MMA. Good luck passing that drug test there my friend.
–Dana White was non-committal about the suggest fight between Royce Gracie and Dan Severn.
–There is talk about a Dan Henderson v. Fedor Emelianenko fight sometime this year but the major issue is what weight they would go.
–Randy Couture wants a Chuck Liddell deal after he retires with his next fight. That means he wants to work in the office.
–Ryan Bader will be the next person to beat Tito Ortiz, no word on what excuse Tito has been working on for losing the fight.