Just when I thought that the UFC couldn’t get any dumber, they go and do something like this and do NOT totally redeem themselves lol, but seriously this move pisses me off.
I understand their motives. First of all Rampage and Forrest are slightly banged up and this gives them a chance to heal (but c’mon 8 months extra when both could fight in March, Forrest in Feb. ?? stupid). Second the ratings for the Ultimate Fighter show are declining pretty drastically and the UFC’s contract with Spike is very important to them and lastly their desire to promote and market their champion who really has a great personality and can draw new fans to the sport. I understand all of this and certainly the two of them will make for great coaches and a far better show than the previous ones but those first two motives aren’t really legit and don’t call for you to put the champion of the deepest and most exciting division to watch (in my opinion) in all of sports, on the shelf for what will turn out to be 10 months.
The show begins shooting in January but won’t air on TV until the filming is wrapped in April. On top of that, in order to build up hype for the fight, Rampage and Forrest won’t get it on until July. Completely ridiculous. This leaves the best division severely bottle-necked for another 8 months and leaves me in particular (which matters most, I should remind you =]) completely unhappy. Obviously they learned nothing from the Matt Serra catastrophe and what has happened to that division. And you’re going to go and repeat the same mistake with your best, most stacked division?! Are you nuts?!! Geezus…
Don’t get me wrong, I think the show will be very entertaining, it’s great to see Rampage getting marketed and the prospect of drawing large amounts of new fans to the sport is great but there just has to be something that you can do to have Rampage fight before July, there just has to be. And maybe I’m jumping the gun here and making assumptions based on the UFC’s history with the show. Maybe this isn’t necessarily for a matchup at the end of the show, it only is if Rampage holds on to the belt, like Rampage still gets a fight in March or April against say, Wanderlei Silva if and when Silva beats Liddell later this month. But honestly, that seems highly doubtful considering you risk losing the match that you’re hyping and then risk marketing someone that’s no longer your champion.
If it were me doing this, I would have the show run live instead of taping in advance and then running later. That way they still get everything they wanted — the hype, the publicity, the promotion, the great ratings — and then the true fans, the ones that have been around the sport and the organization for a long time, still get to see their favorite fighters fight 3-4x a year like they’re supposed to.