Before the start of the main card at every UFC event, The Who's classic, "Baba O'Riley," blares over the sound system as footage of fighters being knocked into various states of unconsciousness plays on the video boards.

No matter how good the preliminary card might have been, the video evokes a Pavlovian response and invariably sends the crowd into a frenzy.

A good knockout highlight reel will do that to you.

And that brings us to the problem facing the UFC, Fox and guys like Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson, who will fight for a title on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.

If you've been paying attention – to Fox, that is – you may know that there is a title fight on Saturday's card, though many do not know it's a flyweight title fight.

Fans love finishes in general, and knockouts in particular, and the flyweights haven't been delivering those at a high rate since being introduced to the UFC last year.

[Also: Bellator fighter says sponsor stopped check after loss]

They've been delivering compelling, acrobatic action, but they haven't done much in the way of providing the type of violent finishes that so frequently send the fan base into a delirium.

"Joseph [Benavidez], John [Dodson] and I, none of the three of us have ever been finished by anybody," said Johnson, the UFC's flyweight champion. "Joseph and I have fought the best at both 125 and 135 and none of those guys have finished us. The likelihood of that happening is low.

"When you're facing someone who is legitimately one of the best guys in the world, and both of you are very well-rounded and fast and technical, it's more of a chess match sometimes. There probably aren't going to be a lot of finishes."

After Johnson's title-winning victory over Benavidez at UFC 152 in Toronto in which fans lustily booed throughout the match, UFC president Dana White reacted angrily.

"If you didn't like the flyweight fight, please, I'm begging you, don't ever buy another UFC pay-per-view again," White said. "I don't want your money. You're a moron. You don't like fighting. You don't appreciate talent."

The fan base has become conditioned to expect spectacular finishes, and it often gets what it has come to see. The slobber-knockers, the fights where two guys stand flat-footed and trade major blows with little effort at defense, really bring the fans out of their seats and send them into a full-throated roar.

That isn't the case with the flyweights, though. And as a silent, unspoken nod to that reality, despite all the promotion Fox did on the event during its NFL playoff telecasts, the word "flyweight" was rarely mentioned.

[Also: Watch: Ronda Rousey does a pretty good 'Honey Boo-Boo' impression]

White said the company has nothing to hide, and he believes that eventually fans will fall in love with the flyweights.

They booed Dodson mercilessly in his October victory over Jussier Formiga until Dodson managed to catch Formiga in the second round to score a rare flyweight knockout.

"They hurt my feelings," said Dodson, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "But seriously, it's OK. Really. The fans pay their money. If they want to boo, that's up to them. No problem."

The UFC, though, will have a major problem if either the flyweights don't start finishing their fights at a higher rate or if the fan base doesn't begin to show a taste for fast, technical fights.

Still, Dodson isn't worried.

"Really, all it is going to take is some time and some familiarity," Dodson said. "A lot of fans say they want to see their fighters go balls to the wall for 25 minutes and let it all hang out. That's what we do. Once the fans realize that the smaller fighters are actually giving the fans what they want to see, then maybe we'll get more appreciation, like the heavyweights do."

Dodson has an eye toward winning not just the flyweight belt on Saturday, but also adding the bantamweight and featherweight belts later on in his career.

[Also: Vitor Belfort takes page out of Chael Sonnen's book with trash-talk]

Johnson and Dodson aren't concerned with any of that for now, however. They're more concerned with the immediacy of Saturday's title fight.

Johnson has been in the gym almost nonstop since his win over Benavidez and vowed he'd made "a huge improvement" over the last four months.

"I want to evolve, not just as a martial artist, but also as a professional athlete in terms of my preparation, my conditioning, everything that is a part of it," he said. "Anything can happen in a fight. I know that and that's what makes fighting so great. You never know.

"But you can control all the variables and do the things to put yourself in the best position to be successful."

If that occurs and they boo anyway, well, White has a response for that.

"[Expletive] 'em," White said. "If they boo guys who fight like this, they're not fans anyway."

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Judge gets reprimand for mocking Johnny Manziel's speeding ticket
Wes Welker's wife apologizes for comments about Ray Lewis
Kobe Bryant's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows
Tiger Woods empathizes with Phil Mickelson over tax situation

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Cody Garbrandt Takes Out Takeya Mizugaki in 48 Seconds (UFC 207 Free Fight) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 27 days ago
  • 689 views

Cody Garbrandt solidified his contender status and earned a title shot with his first round victory over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202. read news >>

UFC Flyweight Champ Demetrious Johnson Sidelined for Several Months | MMAWeekly.com

  • 26 days ago
  • 53 views

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson won't require surgery for a recent knee injury, but he will be out of action for the next several months. read news >>

Joseph Benavidez channels Jerry Maguire, says third shot at Johnson 'would complete me'

  • 24 days ago
  • 4 views

For six years, Demetrious Johnson has been Joseph Benavidez’s Kryptonite. On paper, there’s little other way to look at it. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Ray Borg hopes UFC 207 win over Louis Smolka kickstarts run to champ Demetrious Johnson

  • 17 days ago
  • 19 views

LAS VEGAS – It’s been a bizarre latter half of 2016 for Ray Borg, and he’s hoping to have a good end to the calendar year ahead of a fresh start in 2017. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson Agree: Ronda Rousey Should Return to the UFC

  • 15 days ago
  • 22 views

Much like when Ronda Rousey lost to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in 2015, there was a fair bit of schadenfreude on display following her UFC 207 defeat at the hands of Amanda Nunes. People ranging from anon read news >>

UFC champ Demetrious Johnson's next career step? At least 12 title defenses

  • 12 days ago
  • 22 views

UFC flyweight Demetrious Johnson remains unbooked for his next title defense, but his immediate career plan is set.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Ray Borg sick of fans' weight-cutting criticism, unveils path to UFC champ Demetrious Johnson

  • 11 days ago
  • 8 views

Ray Borg said he feels bad for missing weight ahead of this past weekend’s UFC 207 bout with Louis Smolka, but he doesn’t appear to be beating himself up too badly over it.Filed under: Featured Video read news >>

John Dodson offers to replace Bryan Caraway vs. Jimmie Rivera at UFC Fight Night 103

  • 11 days ago
  • 7 views

John Dodson is prepared to step up and fight fellow top-ranked bantamweight Jimmie Rivera on less than two weeks’ notice at UFC Fight Night 103 later this month.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Bryan Caraway Out of UFC Phoenix, John Dodson Offers to Step In | MMAWeekly.com

  • 11 days ago
  • 8 views

An injury has scrapped a pivotal UFC Phoenix bantamweight match-up, but John Dodson is offering to step in to save the day. read news >>

Jimmie Rivera withdraws from UFC Fight Night 103 after picking Marlon Vera over John Dodson

  • 8 days ago
  • 51 views

After injury forced Bryan Caraway to withdraw from next week’s UFC Fight Night 103, opponent Jimmie Rivera has now pulled himself from the card, as well.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>