It's the month of August, and the mixed martial arts community is raving about the approaching UFC 178 card. Weeks separate the sports world from what is shaping up to be the biggest event of the year, and people seem to not want to stop talking about it.
One look at the planned fight card, and it's clear that the UFC has put together quite the offering for fight fans everywhere. UFC 178 is being built as the must-see card of 2014, and this event has the potential to overshadow everything else between now and September 27.
More than a full month stands between the sports public and the night when Daniel Cormier will challenge Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title. But that is not stopping this event, and particularly the Jones-Cormier rivalry, from taking over the MMA media world.
The press conference brawl between Jones and Cormier earlier this week caught the eyes of everyone and has since become a hotly debated topic (via Sherdog). Between these two individuals and fights that feature Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Tim Kennedy and others, it's no wonder that many of the fights set to happen this month are not being talked about.
With so much hype surrounding an event that is very distant on the horizon, one must wonder if the upcoming cards will be hurt.
UFC 177 features two title bouts on the same docket, but TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson are two of the lesser-known champions within the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Both Johnson and Dillashaw recently headlined UFC PPV events that ended with very low buyrates. According to MMA Fighting, UFC 174, which featured Johnson in the main event, potentially did less than 100,000 buys, which would be the lowest figure in the modern times of the UFC. UFC 173, where Dillashaw became the banatamweight champion, reportedly ended with slightly more than 200,000 buys, according to reports from Bloody Elbow.
UFC 178 should easily blow those numbers out of the water. The numbers from the MMA Payout Blue Book reveal that Jon Jones has averaged nearly 480,000 buys with every PPV event in which he has been a part of the main event. Even his lowest event, UFC 165 at 310,000 buys, earned more than the combination of UFC 173 and UFC 174.
The UFC has already started to promote UFC 178 heavily as the champion and challenger have been featured on programming on both the Fox Sports Network and ESPN to talk about their rivalry. All the while, very little has been done to showcase the upcoming event on August 30. UFC 177 has two fights that will present perhaps one of the UFC's most dominant champions and another titleholder who pulled off what could be the upset of 2014. However, they are both currently being blotted out by the shadow cast by the two large light heavyweights.
It will be interesting to see if the anticipation of UFC 178 hurts the box-office results that come from UFC 177. As the oversaturation of MMA has stuck around as one of the most prominent stories of the year, the UFC may be promoting themselves right out of an important date in August. There is still time for the UFC to correct the situation, but given the way Cormier and Jones are antagonizing each other, who knows what will happen next.
In the end, the UFC may create their biggest card of the year while sacrificing an entire event in August.