Tag Archives: UFC

Nate and Nick Diaz

One of my favorite topics is the Diaz brothers. Tony Ferguson recently let Nate know that he isn’t scared, because the Diaz brothers love to say “Don’t be scared homie.” They may sound a little immature at times, but make no mistake, these two are well versed in the disciplines of boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a fan of MMA since its inception, I can say easily that I have never cared for their unprofessional antics, where they lose their cool more often than not and actually engage in “street fights” with other fighters.

These two do have something that we all love though, a warrior spirit. They are true fighters to their core.

With all of that said, and the the fact that Nate just eagerly and aggressively agreed to take the fight with superstar Conor McGregor on just two weeks notice after RDA pulled out due to a broken foot he sustained during a sparring session; Nate Diaz is definitely either not scared homie, or he is really good at hiding his fear. Hence the subject of this blog today.

Oh, in fact, you should be scared. Should you be scared of another man if fighting is your profession? Not necessarily. Fear does drive us to train harder and smarter though. If you are not confident that you have done everything you can to prepare yourself physically and mentally for a fight, fear is exactly what you will feel. Being scared is natural in any competition. You started out in a sport or activity and you began to love it. You may have even gotten good at it. You practiced against the same people day in and day out, or you spent hours perfecting your technique. Whether it is intellectual or physical, you have invested a lot of time, sweat, tears, blood, and/or money in this. What if you get out there and fail miserably? What if you aren’t as good as you thought you were? What if you get injured? What if you injure someone else severely? What if what if what if… These are all things that go through your head if you devote your time and energy into something that turns into a competition setting.

If you are not scared that you have the possibility to fail at something you think you care about so much, then you may not really care at all.

We all know Nate Diaz is telling his opponents that they need to stand in front of him and fight him “like a man”. But is that the best strategy for his opponents? No, not in most cases. There is always a game plan and standing in front of a puncher that peppers and moves forward is not a great idea. I know that Conor is supremely confident in his training so fear of Nate Diaz does not amount to simply thinking Nate will kick is butt. Fear amounts to the fact that you will lose a lot of what you have built up over the course of a lifetime. Every black eye, every bloody lip, every bruise has all brought a fighter to the place you see them at on fight night. Fighting is not a job, it is a lifestyle. It is a daily grind of pushing yourself beyond the limits of what you even thought was possible. It is the amazing movement and rhythm that comes with years of dedication to a craft. If you aren’t scared, you aren’t normal.

In conclusion, I’m not saying that I was or any other fighter is “scared” but fear can be a great motivator. Find out what fear is and you will be able to develop a goal that helps you avoid that fear. If that isn’t the solution you want to hear, then face your fears head-on. If you’re scared of snakes, go hold a snake. Fear does motivate those exceptional athletes to go beyond what normal people feel is possible…

Martial Arts, Movies and Reality

To say that there are many different styles of Martial Arts would be an understatement. As a kid, watching movies, I became fascinated by Karate and Kung Fu. It was that general to me. There were no breakdowns of different schools of practice within these Martial Arts. I saw Martial Artists throwing punches, kicks, and throws that didn’t give me any reason to believe they wouldn’t work in real life.

They were spectacular displays of skill that made it apparent that it would take years to master.

bruce-leeBruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Dam, and Steven Seagal were all larger than life to me. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that each of these martial artists had such different styles. They just all looked like a bunch of dudes that nobody would mess with. What kid doesn’t have a fear of being kidnapped, or bullied? That is what made these movies so appealing, it would have been impossible to bully or kidnap someone who had this much skill in hand-to-hand combat.

After the magic and innocence of childhood wears off a little bit, and life has been lived more… we start to realize that movies are glamorized and exaggerated. Along came a big slap in the face to all of the Martial Arts movies and childhood fantasies. The name of that slap was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Some guys were brave enough to finally ask: “What Martial Arts style is truly the most effective?” and actually throw an event where Martial Artists from all over the world, of varying styles, would fight each other bare knuckled to see who was truly the best. When I found out about this event, being an avid Martial Artist and fan of combat sports, I had to see it. I talked my dad into ordering it, as I’m sure his curiosity was equally aroused.

I know a lot of people nowadays realize that an undersized Brazilian named Royce Gracie won the first UFC.

It showed that you really don’t have to be a big, strong guy to win fights.

This wasn’t something that was foreign to us though as Bruce Lee was a small man that had already proven that size didn’t matter much when the little guy knew what he was doing. Still, I am proud to see the evolution of Martial Arts, and never has a better platform been created than the UFC. In my opinion, the UFC is what Bruce Lee stated about Martial Arts way before the inception of MMA. Bruce Lee said that you can’t limit yourself to one style. He recognized boxing and wrestling as Martial Arts when most people would have simply called them sports. To see Bruce Lee as an MMA fighter would have been awesome. The UFC game does him justice, but it would have been great to see in real life.

The Congress and MMA

Kind of big news that may seriously change MMA as we know it. It is almost like The UFC knew big changes were coming. A Congressional subcommittee held a hearing Thursday on a range of issues related to mixed martial arts, including brain trauma, inconsistent anti-doping measures and athlete compensation. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which is part of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, reviewed testimony from several witnesses. Among them were former UFC champion Randy Couture and Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance. States have shown interest in banning or regulating MMA so it would not have been important if a single state was reviewing it.

It was a significant hearing in the sport’s history because, historically, the federal government has taken very little interest in MMA.

A range of issues was discussed and they are issues that have been brought up in the past. The fighters union was created to help with these issues. The current lack of comprehensive health insurance for professional fighters was one of the key ideas discussed. Although the focus of the hearing was not to specifically address a live bill to expand the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000 to MMA, that topic certainly loomed over the entire hearing. That bill was introduced to Congress in May by Rep. Markwayne Mullin from Oklahoma and aims to expand the federal law’s coverage to all combat sports, and specifically calls for the Association of Boxing Commissions to create guidelines for minimum fighter/promoter contractual provisions and establish criteria for an independent fighter rankings system.

Drug testing and fighter safety were the main focus of the discussion for now, but it is apparent that changes are coming. How soon is not known. The subcommittee will not meet again until early 2017, at which point there will be a hearing scheduled to specifically address the bill to expand the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, Rep. Mullin told ESPN.com. Should the bill pass through both the subcommittee and the House, it would move on to the Senate. Ultimately, the bill would also require the signature of President-elect Donald Trump, who has a known relationship with UFC president Dana White. Mullin said he does not see that relationship as a threat to the bill, which the UFC doesn’t support.

MSG Isn’t Bad for MMA

Exactly as I predicted down to the round, I told my friends when asked about my opinion of the main event in New York at Madison Square Garden (MSG), Conor McGregor knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the second round to win the UFC lightweight title and become the first two-class champion in UFC history. McGregor dominated from the opening bell of the main event of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. The sold-out crowd at MSG must have been on McGregor’s side because you could hear the roar of the MMA hungry New York crowd. Madonna and Hugh Jackman showed up along with a long list of top celebrities. As I have blogged about a few times, the UFC was live and legal in New York for the first time since an MMA ban was lifted earlier this year. “This is the biggest event in the history of MMA,” UFC color commentator Joe Rogan told the crowd.

In conjunction with the sentiment of the fans and fighters, the UFC stacked the card with three title fights that were expected to help set a gate record of more than $17 million at MSG. The 1999 boxing match between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield drew a record $13.5 million. So the UFC had high hopes. Tyron Woodley and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson went to a majority draw that allowed Woodley to retain his welterweight belt. I have to say that I have always like Wonderboy but he showed some serious heart in that fight and came back to almost upset the champ after a head-jarring shot followed by a cranking guillotine choke. Joanna Jedrzejczyk successfully defended her UFC women’s strawweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz, that was a display of heart and skill.

The UFC had never run a show in New York City because of a two-decade ban imposed by New York that left only unsanctioned and unsafe MMA fights in the state. State lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed in April to end the ban following years of failed efforts by MMA supporters. The law authorizing the sport took effect in September.

New York couldn’t wait for the biggest MMA promotion in the world to throw an event.

MSG was packed with nearly 20,000 fans and UFC was on pace to set a gate record for the arena. Historically, the UFC last ran a major show in the state at UFC 7: The Brawl in Buffalo on April 7, 1995. UFC, under Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, exploded into a global phenomenon, and became a staple on network television and ran PPV cards that hit 1 million buys during the ban. UFC 205 was expected to reach around 1.5 million PPV buys. I hae also blogged about the sale of the UFC which sold for approximately $4 billion to a group led by Hollywood entertainment conglomerate WME-IMG in July.

In one I didn’t predict, Yoel Romero caught Chris Weidman with a hard flying right knee and finished him off in the third round with a spectacular, bloody knockout victory. Weidman was bleeding as much as I’ve ever seen in MMA. It looked like he got hit with a machete. Romero’s win made him the No. 1 contender for Michael Bisping’s middleweight title and they wasted no time hyping that potential matchup. Bisping was scanned to by the camera to which he responded in a Bisping-like gesture that involved his middle finger. In another fight, Miesha Tate suffered another loss. We all know she played a pivotal role in the women’s division rise to prominence in UFC, announced her retirement inside the octagon following a loss to Raquel Pennington. The 30-year-old Tate says the loss played a role in her decision. “I had a lot more to give but I couldn’t pull it out of myself,” she said. Tate defeated Holly Holm in March to win the bantamweight title and then lost the belt in her first title defense to Amanda Nunes in July. Tate (18-7) had coached Pennington on “The Ultimate Fighter,” a reality show used by the UFC to recruit new talent. The Madison Square Garden crowd gave Tate an appropriately loud applause when she announced her retirement.

Needless to say, there was a lot of action in this event. The UFC has been so saturated with events lately that it is hard to get a good show from the first to the last fight. In my opinion, the UFC gave us a treat and the fighters stepped up to the challenge and made this show entertaining.

UFC 205 Historic in New York

Professional mixed martial arts is quickly off to a great start in the state of New York, two months after lawmakers ended its status as the only state to ban it. While there have been a handful of bouts in the state since the change took effect, an upcoming UFC event at Madison Square Garden is expected to be the real benchmark for MMA. Promoters say it’s likely just the start of a long relationship between New York City and mixed martial arts. With such historic venues in New York, it only seems fitting that major events will be thrown there. There are several great boxing venues around the world and in the united states but none quite Parallel with the Garden. With such an important place in boxing history, Madison Square Garden is the premier venue for mixed martial arts. Joel Fisher, an executive vice president at the Garden, said “it’s only fitting that the first UFC fight in New York state is taking place at ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,'” one of its many nicknames.

“It should have been legal in New York 15 years ago,”~ Scott Coker

We all know the UFC isn’t the only major promotion, even if it is the most famous in the United States. Bellator has been holding its own for a long time. The president of Bellator, Scott Coker was quoted as saying, “It should have been legal in New York 15 years ago,” the promotion is hoping to hold an event next year at the Garden or at Barclays Center. “We’re going to bring a big, big show, probably the biggest card in the history of Bellator.” It has long been known that there are some very accomplished fighters from New York. There are several top caliber schools. The legalization in their home state is awesome for fighters from New York who have had always had to travel elsewhere to fight professionally. “This is a dream come true,” middleweight Chris Weidman said in September. A native New Yorker, he who will be one of several fighters in Saturday’s pay-per-view UFC 205 event.

State lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed in April to end the two-decade old ban following years of failed efforts by MMA supporters. The law authorizing the sport took effect in September. Cuomo concluded the move would boost the economy by luring bouts to the nation’s largest city as well as upstate venues, with one estimate that MMA could generate $137 million in annual economic activity. In response to critics concerned about the sport’s violence, lawmakers added provisions that raise the insurance required to $50,000 for fighter injuries, a $50,000 death benefit and $1 million for life-threatening brain injuries. The law was also intended to regulate existing amateur mixed martial arts events. It’s a huge expense for promoters, and that prevents guys just starting their career from being able to fight in New York. I know this is true but I feel that it will change in the future. MMA is extremely young in the state of New York and a major victory was won, there will still be obstacles though.

Karma

A little push after a fight is over, an intentional illegal strike, or even some explicit words exchanged during a fight. It all boils down to sportsmanship. The first two can get people hurt but rarely do. What about someone who holds a submission too long with the intention of really hurting someone. Well, that is against all that real martial arts stands for. If it is done to win a fight, so that the ref sees the tap, because there have been controversial decisions based on someone saying they weren’t tapping in the past, then that is a little different. The tapping fighter should have integrity enough to admit they tapped but there have been cases where they did not admit it. Anyway, I’m talking about someone intentionally trying to render their opponent unconscious or even more diabolically injure them seriously.

Rousimar Palhares has seen better days. The once UFC contender and former World Series of Fighting Champion was in action this past weekend and it did not go well. Palhares fought Michal Materla at KSW 36 in Poland and in the second round of the bout a right uppercut from Materla leveled Palhares. I don’t think many fans will be feeling sorry for him as he is probably one of the most detested fighters in MMA. If it wasn’t for his tendency to hold on to submissions long after his opponent has tapped he would most likely still be fighting in the UFC.
Palhares was released by the UFC in 2013 after several instances where he failed to release submissions after the tap. After his release he was given a shot by World Series of Fighting and won their welterweight title. He defended it twice with two big submission wins, one against Jon Fitch and another against Jake Shields. The one against Shields caused him to be released from the promotion after holding on to the submission long after Shields tapped.

Karma is a mother when it hits you.

Another famous UFC fighter was Babalu, Ronato Sobral. In the 74th UFC Babalu Sobral faced David Heath and dominated him with superior ground-and-pound. In the second round, he opened a cut on Heath’s forehead. Then he locked in a choke. Heath tapped. In the vast majority of cases once fighters feel the tap, they release the submission. Babalu kept applying the choke despite the tap. It was due to some trash talking before the fight that Babalu thought was disrespectful. He let him go after Heath passed out. “He has to learn respect. He deserved that. He called me a mother effer,” Babalu said during his post-fight interview in not so many words. Needless to say, Babalu never fought in the UFC ever again. Additionally, the Nevada State Athletic Commission withheld half of Sobral’s $50,000 fight purse. Karma was immediate and Ronato has had some success in smaller promotions but lost his contract in the big show after that stunt.

In summary, there have been notoriously bad-tempered fighters in the cage. I just wanted to tell you a little about a couple of them and show you why some people may think that MMA isn’t a real martial art, just a barbaric “human cock fight” as it was once dubbed. The actions of a few can spoil it for the rest right? Not really, the UFC is bigger and more famous than ever. They do really promote a good skilled martial art’s attitude and hope that their fighters obey a code of conduct that applies to most professionals. I just hope that the world sees the beauty of the art and that these guys are true martial artists through-and-through, despite the despicable actions of some fighters.

Fighters Can’t Stay Retired

So Conor was mad one day and announced his retirement. Ronda did the same thing, but it was out of depression. Boxers used to do this all the time, then they would go back and fight again. This seems to be the trend for UFC fighters as well. UFC President Dana White confirmed no final decision has been made about Ronda Rousey’s long-awaited return to the Octagon. Her last fight was a loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November. There have been talks about her coming back, but they hadn’t made a decision yet. There’s a chance she fights to get her belt back this year, but nothing is set in terms of that yet. If she does make a comeback this year then she will get a title shot if she wins.

Her camp promises the best Ronda Rousey that anyone has ever seen.

On Tuesday, Damon Martin of Fox Sports passed along comments Dana White made during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. He wouldn’t provide details about her potential comeback fight but noted it wouldn’t happen on the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12, as previously speculated, citing sources, Martin reported there have been discussions about a Rousey return before the end of 2016. He noted they were preliminary talks, however, and nothing has been finalized. It’s still possible she won’t return until next year. Rousey is a superstar and emerged as a dominant force and top UFC draw before she suffered the first loss of her professional career against Holm. With her return we certainly see a fight between Cyborg and her in the future.

This is the fight everyone, including myself, that everyone has been waiting for.

The stars haven’t aligned to date, but now that Cyborg is in the UFC and Ronda is coming back, it looks like a possibility.

While some may have believed the expected hiatus would lessen the pain of defeat, Rousey erased any thought of that earlier this year. Nina Mandell of USA Today noted the former Olympic bronze medalist provided a candid glimpse at her mindset following Holm’s upset while on The Ellen Show in February: “In the medical room, I was down in the corner, I was sitting in the corner and I was like ‘what am I anymore if I’m not this?’ And I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself in that exact second, I’m nothing. Like what do I do anymore? And no one gives an crap (altered from a bad word) about me anymore without this.” Crazy how that much pressure can consume your life and make you feel like it is all you have in life.

Now the question is what type of drawing power Rousey will have after her loss and more than a year away from the sport. It’s hard to know whether her comeback attempt will immediately draw mainstream attention or if she’ll need to establish herself all over again. Like mentioned though, a fight with Cyborg would certainly top the PPV charts if they collide in the middle of their primes. She’s been sorely missed by the UFC, which sold last month for $4 billion and is going to need marquee attractions like Rousey to shine in order to prove worth the investment. Again, only time will tell. If it is meant to be, then the UFC will certainly make it happen.

New York’s Hidden Agenda

It seemed like something that would never happen, but New York finally lifted its ban on Mixed Martial Arts. It was a hard fight for 7 years led by the UFC. The ban lift was the culmination of a seven-year effort by UFC officials, who made frequent visits to the state Capitol and retained influential Albany lobbyists in an effort to have the ban overturned. If that isn’t technical enough, the people who ultimately decide, the State Assembly, was opposed to it had a dramatic shift within their Democratic majority, which was the major factor in having the ban overturned.

With the lift of the ban, there was a light.

Madison Square Garden, long famous for being a fight event icon could not be a conquest of the UFC. Did they do it just to be nice? Haha, never, there is always a hidden agenda when it comes to politics.

New York saw it as an opportunity to cash in on a big business. Are they wrong for it? Not as long as everyone is happy including the UFC and other major MMA promotions. So what they are doing is the State of New York is levying a tax on the newly authorized sports of kickboxing, single-discipline martial arts and our baby, mixed martial arts. According to an August 18th notice issued by the state Department of Taxation and Finance, promoters of such combative sporting events will be required to pay a gross receipts tax beginning September 1st. Haven’t there always been taxes on events? Well these taxes differ from those previously imposed on boxing, sparring, and wrestling matches.

It was in April of this year that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation lifting a ban on mixed martial arts contests that had been in place since 1997. The measure also imposed a gross receipts tax on the newly authorized combative sports of kickboxing, single-discipline martial arts, and mixed martial arts. The tax rates on boxing, sparring, and wrestling matches or exhibitions weren’t changed by the new law and remain at 3% of gross receipts from ticket sales and broadcasting rights, with a maximum of $50,000 in taxes per event for each type of sale. The difference is that gross receipts from ticket sales for kickboxing, single-discipline martial arts, and mixed martial arts will be taxed at a higher, 8.5% rate with no cap on taxes. The sum of gross receipts from broadcasting rights and digital streaming over the internet of such newly authorized events will be subject to a 3% tax, with a maximum of $50,000 of tax due per event.

This translates to a lot of money if the events make a lot of money. With the UFC making millions per show, you can see how this will be a huge levy due to the state. Beginning September 1st, promoters of the newly authorized combative sporting events will have to report ticket sales and pay those taxes within 10 days of the event. The taxes on broadcasts and streaming receipts generally are due at the end of the month, unless they are received during the last five days of a month. The state will be paid well and they will be paid quickly. So in order to throw shows in New York, you are allowed, but it will cost you. Fighters are constantly complaining about the minimum paydays from the UFC for the risk they take, maybe this will help them see even further that promoters don’t keep all the money, everybody wants their cut.

Tomato Cans

Boxing, or prize fighting as it was referred to for a long time, has a lot of history of tough fighters, trainers, camps, and sayings. An opponent who wasn’t nearly as skilled as a champion, or a well versed fighter was commonly referred to as a “tomato can.” The wiki definition is: “In boxing, kickboxing or mixed martial arts, “tomato can” or simply “tomato” or “can” is an idiom for a fighter with poor or diminished skills (at least when compared with the opponent they are placed against) who may be considered an easy opponent to defeat, or a “guaranteed win.” Fights with “tomato cans” can be arranged to inflate the win total of a professional fighter. The phrase originates in the childhood pastime of kicking a can down the street-a boxer is advancing his career with minimal effort by defeating a “tomato can” and notching a win. “Tomato” refers to blood: “knock a tomato can over, and red stuff spills out.”

Although the definition of tomato can is sort of dark, it is usually used as a light-hearted reference to a fighter that doesn’t really stand a chance. With that said, there is another saying in reference to tomato cans.

“Sometimes a tomato can doesn’t know he’s a tomato can.”

I find this to be true when a fighter that is not as well heard of as their opponent is actually a great fighter, but has yet to be given the opportunity to prove themselves. Rocky is a story about a tomato can that beat all odds and even ended up winning the title in the sequel. With all of this said, the champions of yesteryear in MMA, the guys who held titles for several defenses and years may be a thing of the past. The highest level of MMA is (arguably, but barely) is the UFC. The year of 2016 has been a crazy year for upsets. Some may even say the rise of the fighters who may have been tomato cans in the eyes of their champion opponents.

Recently Tyron Woodley took the crown from Robbie Lawler who humbly gave himself no excuses and submitted to the fact that he was not the better fighter that night. The Atlanta crowd saw Robbie, who is thought to be one of the toughest strikers in the world get knocked out in defense of his belt. Dominic Cruz, Miesha Tate, Stipe Miocic, and Michael Bisping all proved themselves to be anything but tomato cans. One can argue that none of these fighters are tomato cans, but for the sake of my blog, I’m simply saying that they were all underdogs to the champions and found a way to get that shiny strap despite the odds. Mixed Martial Arts training and professional fighting are all open to interpretation by the coach and the fighter. New methods of training and cross training are still introduced in every camp. Eddie Alvarez and Amanda Nunes were also new belt holders that nobody thought had a chance. The bottom line of the changing of the guard is that seven new champions were crowned in just seven months to these fighters that many believed were not in the right place in their careers to take what the champions had.

I guess this all boils down to belief in ones self. It doesn’t take a crowd or the masses to believe in you.

If you truly believe that you are the better participant in any sport, you are well on your way to making those beliefs come to fruition.

People like that are an inspiration to the masses that didn’t believe in them in the first place. Movies like Rudy and Eddie the Eagle more recently are all about sportsmen who truly believed in themselves and persevered through the naysayers and the critics, most often even people close to them telling them they didn’t have a snowball’s chance in July. Doesn’t Martial Arts embody that belief as a whole? Isn’t self confidence at the root of sports and martial arts? I think so, it all starts with a belief and an inspiration. Before every football game, the assistant coach, who had a deep strong voice used to start a poem that he read us. I have found the poem since then and memorized it. It is about this notion as a whole. It is titled “The Man Who Thinks He Can”. It isn’t hard to find if you google it. It gives me the chills when I read it because I picture his voice saying it. It always ended up with him yelling “Do you think you can!?” and we would all be so pumped up and yelling back “YEAH!”

In conclusion, I know life isn’t a movie, but anything people want to accomplish, especially something that others think is impossible starts with the belief in one’s self. We teach children that they can be anything they want, then when they get older and hold on to that notion, we often tell them it isn’t going to happen. We should start with belief, and end with it as well. We should support ourselves even when nobody else will. Look up the poem, you won’t be disappointed.

It’s Official

Well, like the title says, it’s official. The UFC sold for a cool 4 Billion dollars. The success of the UFC has a price. In less than 16 years, the UFC has grown from a money-losing company in a widely reviled sport into a global entertainment property worth $4 billion. While the UFC and its new owners figure out the company’s next steps, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are tapping out of mixed martial arts with a remarkable return on a $2 million investment. The UFC has been sold for approximately $4 billion to a group led by Hollywood entertainment conglomerate WME-IMG, both companies confirmed Monday.

The sale will spectacularly benefit the Fertitta brothers and UFC President Dana White, who first persuaded his wealthy high school buddies to buy the cage fighting promotion in 2001. White also owned 9% of the company, and he isn’t going anywhere though: He’ll remain the boss and public face of the UFC while keeping an ownership stake. “No other sport compares to UFC,” White said.

“Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I’m looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”~ Dana White

They were trying to by hush-hush in the negotiation process. Now it is public information. In their first public comments about the deal, White and the new owners have suggested little will change at first for the promotion. The UFC has a full slate of fights scheduled this year, all building toward its long-awaited debut at Madison Square Garden in November after New York legalized MMA earlier this year. Which is kind of a big deal if you follow the sport. New York is notorious in its statements and resistance to MMA.

On the bright side, the UFC has created super-star status for fighters. After helping Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz to straddle the line between sports and entertainment, the UFC now boasts a roster of elite athletes with mainstream fame, including Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar, and Ronda Rousey (who is represented by WME by the way). It’s too soon to tell whether the deal will lead to more money for the UFC’s non-unionized athletes. The promotion regularly receives criticism from mid-level fighters for its pay scale, but its ability to control talent costs is a major factor in its profitability. Hopefully this company changes the pay grade for the mid level guys as they are risking as much as anyone else who steps in the cage. It is doubtful that much will change as long as Dana White is essentially calling the shots.

The UFC’s price tag has drawn crazy responses since it was first rumored earlier this year, but what is for sale is not just a promotion, but an entire sport, given the UFC’s omnipotence atop MMA.

Bellator and other competitors draw a fraction of the UFC’s revenue, attention, and some could argue talent. With more than 500 athletes under contract, the UFC stages roughly 40 events per year and is broadcast in more than 150 countries, reaching 1.1 billion television households. The UFC is frequently described as the world’s largest pay-per-view event provider, and it also has a prolific digital streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, that it describes as “Netflix for fight fans” and is a key component of potential growth. The Ultimate Fighter TV show and support now from ESPN, a huge brand itself, MMA is not going anywhere anytime soon.

I guess time will be the only determining factor in seeing if there will be significant changes. I know that there are things that need to change. One of the purest parts of the sport in the beginning is that is wasn’t about being a money machine. I think it is so commercial nowadays that even the hardcore underground fans can’t ignore it. Hopefully the fighters get more compensation and the quality of the fighers remains the same. Only time will tell…