With the May/Mac world tour officially underway, little attention is being paid to the world of MMA and that trend is more than likely going to continue. UFC 213, last Saturday, received little to no buzz and the only redemptive events to come out of the MMA world in the past week were Justin Gaethje performance on Friday and the “Tame Your Demons” trailer for 214. The UFC’s July and August calendar will no doubt continue to pay dearly for the attention garnered by Mayweather/McGregor; yet it is the UFC itself that is responsible for this predicament.
Of the 6 UFC cards announced so far only one has the potential to attract a decent audience. The 5 upcoming Fight Night Cards will be headlined by:
Rua/St. Preux 2 (hey, this one doesn’t even have a Wiki yet)
Apart from UFC 214, which is by far the best card of the year, the organization has seemingly resigned itself to a slow couple of months.
The UFC knows they cannot compete with the blackhole that is May/Mac. What they have decided to do is fulfill their requirements with Fox i.e. put on a certain number of shows in a given time frame, without being overly concerned with ratings. At this point in time both MMA and traditional media are spellbound by the August 26th super fight and the UFC has smartly diverted their efforts accordingly.
There is no logical reason to put out scintillating fights in the month of August but also in weeks leading up to and following the 26th. UFC 214 however is the exception as it is nearly a month before May/Mac and stands head and shoulders above any other UFC event. The UFC would be foolish to spread the 3 Title-Fights on 214 throughout July and August. UFC 214 is therefore a bastion, a fortress for one final successful event before the shadow of May/Mac consumes all else.
Context is everything. It doesn’t make sense to waste resources marketing fights in Glasgow or Long Island when a clip of Floyd Senior talking shit or some breaking news in the McGregor camp will immediately overshadow these efforts. So instead of attracting a median amount of fruitless attention for their next 6-7 events, the UFC has chosen to focus all efforts on 214.
UFC 214 is not meant to compete with May/Mac. However, it is supposed to act as a lightning rod of sorts. All of the little Fight Night events leading up to August 26th will at best garner the occasional op-ed. They will be largely ignored or immediately forgotten by both fans and media. But a Pay Per View with 3 fantastic title-fights cannot be ignored even in the face of a May/Mac.
That isn’t to say 214 could compete with the landmark-boxing match. But because it is happening on July 29th, 214 has enough distance and star power to attract attention and interest. Cormier/Jones 2, Woodley/Maia, Cyborg/Evinger, Lawler/Cerrone, Manuwa/Oezdemir, are all big fights, and all featured on this stacked card. The UFC is running the risk of putting all their eggs in one basket, but the alternative is to write off July as a complete loss. They have clearly written off August as such and September will likely fair no better.
This whole situation though, is entirely the UFC’s fault. They had the authority and ability to stop McGregor from competing in a boxing match. It was their decision to allow him to compete in the first place. In all likelihood though, the UFC’s share of the pot will more than compensate for their lackluster schedule leading up to and following August 26th.
So while a few of us might be interested to see if Weidman can reverse his free fall or question what Nelson will do against a dangerous kick boxer, what we have to acknowledge is it would be an utter waste of resources to promote these events. The UFC needs to pick their battles and they have done just that with 214. So even in the face of constant breaking May/Mac news, any MMA fan worth their weight in salt will tune in on July 29th.