My Two Armbars: commentary on latest MMA happenings and news
COMMENTARY | A few months ago, Dana White said he was working on a deal to have uniforms in the UFC. This would include shorts, walkout shirts, and hats. This prospective apparel company would be the main backer for the UFC and its fighters. In MMA’s history, fighters relied tremendously on these companies to earn a living. Currently, sponsors still play an integral role in the total compensation of fighters. While exact numbers are unknown, sponsorship deals can add up to several hundred dollars for lesser known fighters to a few thousand dollars for mid-card fighters and up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for household names like Anderson Silva and Georges St Pierre.
With already mixed feedback, White’s announcement has caused a firestorm of public and fighter outrage. But there are benefits from such a deal. The obvious motive for uniforms is more money for everyone. Assuming that Nike, Reebok or a similar company signs on, this would generate an incredible revenue source for the UFC in advertising and merchandising deals. The benefit to the fighters is that UFC would share the revenue stream based on a formula, flat amount, or percentage. This would most likely be based on ranking or where they are positioned on the fight card. The deal makes sense for fighters as long as they make more money.
Uniforms would create a better image for the fighters. Remembering several years ago, a Tito Ortiz walkout shirt had the phrase “Dana White is my bitch”. The fans loved it, but this was in a different era. Nowadays, the UFC has mainstream media attention and is targeting a larger and more diverse demographic of women and younger children. The UFC cannot afford to have such an obscene statement. Imagine the firestorm if a fighter’s t-shirt had a drug reference or rape innuendo. We have already seen the UFC crack down on fighters making homophobic statements or obscene tweets. Uniforms would mitigate much of this risk and avoid bad publicity.
Uniforms would help to create more standardized look inside the ring. As a fan, I always laughed how companies like Condom Depot, VA Mortgage Lender, or Dynamic Fastener sponsored fighters. I’d much rather see targeted MMA or athletic companies doing the sponsoring. The advantage with the current system is that fighters have the freedom to get support from almost any company. Moving forward, hopefully there will be an opportunity to have fighter chosen company sponsors.
Finally, from a fighter perspective, it would be nice to not deal with finding sponsors. Fighters must find sponsors, negotiate payment, and also get paid. Sponsors will typically seek out fighters on the main card, but what about lesser known fighters. Most often, they struggle to find sponsors and become distracted on the business end of MMA when they should be focused on training and the upcoming fights.
It will be interesting to see the uniform situation play out. As long as fighters see an increased benefit and flexibility, I support uniforms.
I’ve begun writing and publishing on Yahoo Voices. Here is my article. http://voices.yahoo.com/my-two-armbars-amazing-last-three-months-the-12580280.html Thanks for reading!
COMMENTARY | “My Two Armbars” is a play on the phrase “my two cents”. It is my opinion and commentary on latest MMA happenings and news.
Jan 04, 2014 – UFC Fight Night Saffiedine vs. Lim Live on UFC Fight Pass
The first event of 2014 brought the introduction of watching live cards on streaming service, UFC Fight Pass. Already with mixed results, the jury is still out on whether UFC Fight Pass will be a long term success, but it demonstrated Dana White and the Fertitta brothers ‘ interest to explore other revenue channels and content distribution. The highlight of the event was the five round duel between Saffiedine and Lim. Lim showed heart and warrior spirit, enduring 25 minutes of punishment from Saffiedine.
Jan 15, 2014 – UFC Fight Night Rockhold vs. Philippou on FOX Sports 1 For the second event of 2014, I was curious to see Luke Rockhold back in the cage and how he would respond after a devastating knockout by Vitor Belfort in his last fight. Rockhold did not disappoint and regained much of his hype by making quick work of the 10th ranked Costa Philippou. I will be anxious to see Rockhold back soon as he solidifies himself as a contender and potential title run in 2014.
Jan 25, 2014 – UFC Saturday Henderson vs. Thomson on FOX
I was really excited to see Ben Henderson back in the cage after losing the title to Anthony Pettis. The card showcased strong performances by Stipe Miocic and Donald Cerrone, but I thought Alex Caceres and Sergio Pettis stole the show on the undercard. The younger Pettis came into the fight with a wave of hype. It was a back and forth battle; however in the end, the experience of Caceres was enough for him to pull out the victory over Pettis.
Feb 01, 2014 – UFC 169 Barao vs. Faber on Pay-Per-View
Anytime there are two champions on the same card, it is a must see for me. For the first PPV of 2014, two things were quite clear. Jose Aldo and Renan Barao are remarkable fighters and will be champions for a long time. The other was the inability of the smaller Brazilian champs to breakthrough to mainstream popularity. Even with two championship belts on the line, the preliminary PPV numbers were very low. The crowd at my local bar is usually a close indicator of how many PPV buys, and my bar was empty.
Feb 15, 2014 – UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Mousasi on FOX Sports 1
This event featured a revised post fight bonus plan. Instead of Submission and Knockout of the Night, they were replaced by Performance of the Night awards, while keeping Fight of the Night bonuses. Continuing on his path to a title shot, Lyoto Machida outpointed Gegard Mousasi for a unanimous win. Machida remains one of the most fascinating UFC fighters and it will be interesting to see how Chris Weidman deals with his speed, accuracy, and elusiveness.
Feb 22, 2014 – UFC 170 Rousey vs. McMann on Pay-Per-View
It is curious to see the evolution of women’s MMA and development of Rowdy Ronda Rousey. When she talks, people listen. When she fights, people watch. For the first time in her career, she stopped her opponent with something other than an armbar, showing her advancement in mixed martial arts. Additionally, she has polarized the fans with her behavior on the Ultimate Fighter, post fight antics with Miesha Tate, and seemingly arrogant conduct. From a fan’s perspective, I am on the Rousey bandwagon and think she is great for MMA. She has brought new viewership and sponsors to the sport.
Mar 01, 2014 – UFC Fight Night Kim vs. Hathaway UFC Fight Pass
Two words. Spinning elbow! The Stun Gun, Dong Hyun Kim tried all night to land a spinning elbow, and finally landed it in the 3rd round. It was beautiful and vicious and an early candidate for knockout of the year.
Mar 08, 2014 – UFC Fight Night Gustafsson vs. Manuwa UFC Fight Pass
All eyes were on #1 ranked Alexander Gustafsson as he faced the powerful Jimi Manuwa. Gustafsson, one win away from getting another title shot, accomplished what he needed to do against Manuwa. He put Manuwa down with knees and punches to earn the TKO victory.
Mar 15, 2014 – UFC 171 Hendricks vs. Lawler Live on Pay-Per-View
UFC 171 was the most intriguing card of 2014. It would define the 170 lbs division. After the fights concluded, we learned that Johny Hendricks rules, Robbie Lawler has plenty of heart, Tyron Woodley is closing in on a title shot and Hector Lombard is not far behind. We will have to wait and see if Georges St-Pierre returns and challenges the new champion.