UFC 200 will be happening in Las Vegas this summer as a part of international fight week. This iconic event will have some the UFC’s biggest stars such as Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cain Velasquez, and many more. I remember watching UFC 100 back in 2009 knowing very little about the sport. The fights were crazy and the stars from Georges St. Pierre, Brock Lensar and Dan Henderson made me a true fan of mixed martial arts. It is not doubt that the UFC is attempting to have another spectacular card as they have a stacked card for the fans.
The UFC has been promoting McGregor and Ronda Rousey as their two largest stars. Rousey has shown that women fight can be as entertaining as male fights. Ronda was the most dominant fighter in the UFC until her clash with Holly Holm. Even with the defeat, Rousey has appeared in movies, hosted SNL, and defined the face for women’s MMA. McGregor predicts how he wins his fights in press conferences and sticks with his word. Aside from his skill as a fighter, McGregor is possibly the best promoter the UFC has ever seen. His trash talking, post fight celebrations and recent statement about retirement has caused the UFC to explode and make headlines in all sports news outlets. Because this is a combat fighting sport anything is bound to happen. Both McGregor and Rousey have lost in the UFC and are looking to bounce back into the winning column.
In the background, Paige VanZant and Sage Northcutt are slowly being carved as the UFC’s newest stars. VanZant, a beautiful strawweight fighter, is currently on Dancing with the Stars making a name for herself inside the family home. This is a great opportunity for Paige, but an even better marketing strategy by the UFC. Sage goes by the nickname of Super for his energetic personality and dragon ball Z looking hair. His cartwheels in the octagon and chiseled physique have made him stand out as a new breakthrough fighter for the UFC. Did I forget to mention he is only 20 years old? Paige is 22 years old and the UFC has plenty of years to promote and grow these fighters into future icons.
Along with the UFC’s new fighters on the rise, the MMA organization has expanded their medium through the Fox Network. Signing a seven year deal with Fox back in 2011, the UFC has been able to air fights, original content, and promotional commercials on Fox and their subchannels. The deal is winding down and the UFC have been exploring their options for what the next move should be. UFC’s Fight Pass is a new subscription pass that allows fans to watch live events and cycle through a library of past fights. This subscription pass is available worldwide allowing anyone to become a fan. The UFC recently had a massive reception from their latest Fight Pass event featuring a bout between Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva. According to Senior Vice President and General Manager of UFC Fight Pass, Eric Winter, the middleweight fight “was a historic night beyond our wildest dreams.” The official count of viewership has not been disclosed, but the fight pass event held in London was a test for what the UFC can do in the future. On July 7, the UFC will be hosting a lightweight championship fight between Rafael Dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez. This will be an ultimate test (no pun intended) as it is the first championship to be broadcasted on the streaming service. If the Fight Pass starts to generate millions of viewers, I don’t see any reason for the UFC to sign with another major network.
The UFC is still a baby compared to any of the other big sports like football, basketball, or baseball. The organization has only been around for 22 years and is still evolving as the years go by. If anything, it will only be power moves done by the UFC to make the organization a giant spectacle.