Over the last year, Dana White and the UFC spent countless hours and a tremendous amount of money to promote UFC 100 – which was billed as the most important night in Mixed Martial Arts history.
There were countdowns on both Yahoo! and Spike TV leading up to the event. Even ESPN – which had previously given MMA very little coverage in the past – spent all week leading up to UFC 100 promoting the spectacle.
I had waited months to see UFC 100. Yet when it was over I turned to the room full of people I was watching it with and asked, “That was it?”
UFC 100 was no different than any other UFC pay-per-view event. It was a few fights, they showed me Turkish from the movie Snatch sitting in the crowd and then I was given the disturbing mental image of Brock Lesnar mounting his wife.
For a normal UFC card, I would say this was pretty good but this wasn’t supposed to be a normal pay-per-view event. This was supposed to be the biggest night ever in the sport. It was supposed to be the Super Bowl of MMA.
If that’s the case – and it was the case – then White and the UFC badly missed their mark Saturday night.
When I tuned into this card, I didn’t have the same feeling as all the others. I had a knot in my stomach, like I do when I watch the Super Bowl or the College Football National Championship Game. This was supposed to be special. I thought in a lot of ways we were celebrating the sport and giving thanks to some of the guys who helped get it to UFC 100.
Where was Chuck Liddell? Where was Matt Hughes? Where was Tito Ortiz? OK, the last one was a joke. What a mean though, how about a video recap of the previous UFC cards, right? With all the promotion the company did for this, there must have been a lot of first time viewers for this pay-per-view.
I thought showing highlights of some of the UFC’s greatest fights of the past would have served two purposes. For us old time fans it would have been kind of a nice look back on such a historic night and for the new viewers it would have served as a history lesson.
But instead people tuning in for the first time saw Dan Henderson take a vicious cheap shot (which he later admitted was unnecessary and that he did on purpose) on a fallen opponent that was knocked out cold. Then by the end of the night new fight fans must have been questioning whether they were watching UFC or WWE.
I’m sorry but I didn’t get what the UFC was doing here. I know Liddell was in the crowd but I would have liked to hear from a couple of these legends about how far the company has come since they first entered the UFC and things of that nature.
Hey, it was their night. It was a night for the fighters and the sport of MMA. It was a night for the fans. We all deserved more than a few fights. Hell, we will get the exact same thing in a couple of weeks when we buy UFC 101.
And I don’t want to hear it was supposed to be just another pay-per-view. That’s bull. Ask the UFC what its advertising budget was for UFC 100 compared to any other event it’s ever put on. It wasn’t just another night. That’s not how they sold it and that’s not how it was marketed.
It’s funny because leading up to the event the UFC treated 100 like a special event but the night of the card, it was business as usual. I found that extremely odd and very poor judgment on White’s part.
UFC 100 was supposed to be a night that would be forever remembered for much more than just the fights in the Octagon. In the end it was but for all the wrong reasons, thanks to Dan Henderson and Brock Lesnar.
The UFC got its headlines but not the ones it wanted because the company didn’t know how to handle a huge event. People who say Dana White can only take this sport so far can rejoice because he really blew a big opportunity at UFC 100.
White should remember that the next time he promotes something as “the biggest night in the history of the sport,” he should probably at least make it more special than the event he put on a couple of weeks earlier.
I know Dana White doesn’t like to listen to anyone but he may want to start talking to others who have experience running a sports league because as far as outside of the Octagon goes, UFC 100 was a miserable failure.