LegitMMA looks at the UFC and asks if any other organisation is capable of competing with the juggernaut?
Let’s start this article with a clarification of what I want to say: is there any point in competing with the UFC as a rival promotion on an international stage?
I don’t mean local shows or big national shows not being put on, cos that would just be stupid and pointless and leave nowhere for amateurs and lower level fighters to develop.
The UFC has a vast marketing strategy, it’s eating up everything in it’s path. One of the latest strategies/acquisitions is the LA Fitness brand in America and the conversion to UFC-branded gyms, stretching from Hawaii to the latest in Australia. Great stuff from the UFC and shows how much it has grown as a brand and how recognisable the three-letter logo has become.
Let’s look at the competition.
Currently Bellator are the most established rival to the UFC. Just over 60k twitter followers compared to the UFC who have just under 1 million followers. Bellator are currently following the UFC model of airing on spike tv which should improve ratings. They have their format of tournaments and seasons which offers an alternative and they also have expanded to reality TV. Smaller venues, smaller ratings but this is the main competition. Bellator boast good fighters and some have made the switch to the bigger show. This organisation has potential for growth after many years of good shows.
WSOF – this organisation is two shows old, offering recently cut UFC fighters a payday on a widely viewable PPV format. Sounds good and really it’s too early to tell if it will last. They’re using big names to sell the initial cards; fighters may not be in their prime but they’re marketable. The organisation reminds me slightly of Elite XC but I won’t make an assumption like that as Elite XC have the worst reputation of any MMA organisation that was ever established.
Badly-run failed promos, corrupt and haemorrhaged money, all equalled a non sustainable future. Strikeforce were absorbed by the Zuffa brand and after months of flirting, the company was dissolved. Some of the fighters moved to the UFC but a lot disbanded and sent their separate ways.
One FC are relatively new and have the Asian market locked down, naturally their talent base lies in the lower weight classes. Their cage design with PRIDE Style rules makes for a more brutal version reminiscent of Pride. Shinya Aoki headlined the latest card, another big arena and good TV platform, good signs but top-level fighting quality may be lacking. Only time will tell.
The UFC, as of yet, have not expanded to the rest of Asia but they have entered into Japan with two recent shows. Potential to buy One FC has been rumoured and the Chinese version of the Ultimate Fighter as well as an Indian version could well have implications should the UFC come knocking for a piece of the Asian market.
The point being, how big and successful do you have to be before Zuffa decides to wipe you out with one fell swoop. I don’t like predictions but give it twelve months and I feel Bellator will come under threat, while One FC may also be the subject of a bid.
In the grand scheme of things we need competition. It’s what makes people better. The UFC have thrived in a fast growing sport and become the lion at the top of the food chain. If recent activity is to be used as a gauge then it is only a matter of time before other organisations fall before the biggest.
So, is there any point in trying to set up a rival to the UFC that could be equal or supersede it? At this moment in time, no.
Sport Is Everything. LegitMMA.