In the spirit of the holiday season, I got to thinking about what I would wish for in the sport of MMA: what would I like to see from the UFC and overall, the sport in general. Without further adieu, here are a few things I hope will take place in 2018.
Conor McGregor Back In The Octagon
It goes without saying the sport is much better when it’s most polarizing figure is competing. There is always something special whenever ‘The Notorious’ fights, especially the copious amount of eyeballs focussed on him. His pressers are fantastic, his antics are zany and his fights are epic.
Less UFC Events
As heard many times on our Fightful MMA podcasts, my ideal scenario would be two events a month. One Fox or FS1 show, followed by a pay per view two weeks later. A simple rotation that will not saturate the masses. Quite frankly, there are too many UFC events. Less is more. Currently, we barely have time to react to an event that just happened and don’t get the chance to yearn for another event. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Trim The UFC Roster
Also heard many times on our podcasts, we have discussed how the UFC is more than just ‘the superbowl of MMA’. It’s the top tier, second, third and sometimes fourth tier of MMA. I opine for the UFC to go back to what it was, where only the best fighters in the world are signed to the organization, not the Top 40. I’d rather the organization house the Top 10 (max Top 15) per division, so we only get the best vs. the best.
Make Each Fight Meaningful
Fans love champions and love championship fights. They also appreciate two top contenders vying for the next title shot. Also, when a fight provides an answer as to where someone stands in the top ten, it’s a worthy bout. When two fighters in the UFC square off and they have absolutely no relevance for their respective divisional rankings, not many people are interested. Eac fight should mean something not fill the space required on a card to fulfill a broadcasting deal.
Showcase Divisional Tournament Brackets
Continuing with the theme of making each fight meaningful, I would like to see the UFC (and all MMA events) showcase some sort of road map to a title fight or divisional hierarchy. When you watch the playoffs for the other big sports or tournaments for college sports, you know what a win means for the victor and what a defeat will do for the loser. If the UFC would lay out a tournament for each division, it would help build stars and fan appeal for each and every fighter.
North American Television Deal for Rizin FF
(Disclosure: I am the play by play voice for Rizin FF)
While the UFC currently has their deal with FOX and Bellator MMA with Spike, there is a fantastic third event overseas that I stand behind and that’s Rizin FF. The nostalgic production is second to none. It’s Pride Version 2.0 and is a completely different product than what North American MMA fans are used to. To be succinct: it’s freakin’ awesome. Problem is, it’s not consumed by the masses. Mind you, it is available online via Fite.tv, so anyone can order and watch, but from a mass appeal perspective, I’d also like to see it somehow be broadcast on television.
These are just a few of the items I have on my MMA Holiday Wish List. I’m sure you have some of your own as well and I’d love to read them. Post your comments below or hit me up anytime on social media: @ShowdownJoe