UFC and The Cheerleader Effect
According to Barney Stinson, the Cheerleader Effect is “when women appear hot but only as a group, not individually. The minute you start pulling them out of the group, their flaws are too horrible to ignore.”
Dana White has been using fighters like Jon Jones and Anderson Silva to cover up for the fact that he has flawed cards that are too horrible to ignore. When you look at the recent cards Jones has been on, we have had co-main events like Che Mills vs. Rory MacDonald, Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez and Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher.
When Silva fights, White knows that every fan of MMA will either purchase the card or find a way to watch it. Proof of that is in the main cards that are shown on PPV for his fights. When he fought Chael Sonnen in the most highly-anticipated rematch since Liddell vs. Couture, White surrounded that fight with two washed-up fighters (Ortiz vs. Griffin), an actor vs. a guy who hadn’t won a UFC fight in four years (Le vs. Cote) and a group of guys living outside of the top-10 in their weight classes.
Its obvious to see what the problem in the UFC is right now; there are too many fighters, too many weight classes and too many cards.
What White has essentially done is turned the UFC into the WWE. Vince McMahon started with Wrestlemania and three other PPVs throughout the year. He then came up with a weekly TV show on Monday nights that he would offer for free on cable to keep fans interested and make extra money through a different source. Once “Monday Night Raw” took off, he came out with PPVs every month, and then another cable show on Friday nights.
Recently, he has moved into Tuesdays and Wednesdays to make sure he has most of the week covered. With all these fights he has to book, he has no choice but to hire more wrestlers that have no business being on TV.
So what Dana White has began to do is put out more programming. Offering free cards on FX, Fuel, Fox and now Fox Sports 1, these free cards are used to showcase up-and-coming fighters and lesser known guys who wouldn’t draw on PPV. This is being done to get more people interested in the UFC with hopes that they will buy the PPVs when they come out.
The problem is that in order to put out weekly or bi-weekly fight cards, he had to go get more fighters. He’s done this not only by absorbing the WEC and Strikeforce, but signing almost every fighter that steps out of the TUF show and adding three weight classes and a women’s division.
Knowing that people are drawn to the main event, he has been putting out championship main events for almost every card because he has nine champions in the UFC. Before that title fight, you are getting 11 prelim fights stuffed in any order because you will still pay to see the main event. Instead of using Sonnen vs. Rua, Overeem vs. Browne and Faber vs. Alcantara to strengthen a card like the Jose Aldo one, he is using them to promote his business and line his pockets at the expense of the true UFC fans.
The last card had Jose Aldo vs. the “Korean Zombie”, which was a snooze fest due to injuries suffered by both fighters. He also gave you Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis to make the co-main events have four legitimate fighters. All you have to do is look at the 10 fights before those two and see how much garbage is being put on PPV. Thales Leites and Ian McCall are the only two fighters that have been in the realm of title shots. Leites got embarrassed by Silva, and McCall was eliminated by the future flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in their tournament.
The answer is simple, cut the roster, cut the cards and cut the garbage. Give us our money’s worth on these PPVs before you lose your true fan base for the sake of trying to impress the casual viewer.