Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What do Renzo Gracie, Murilo Bustamante and Gegard Mousasi all have in common? They all like like their scotch aged and their steaks medium rare! Also, they've each won big with up-kicks! In fact, Mousasi won the DREAM middleweight grand prix in Japan earlier today with an up-kick knockout over jiu-jitsu deity Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (thanks to Sherdog.com for the play-by-play). Who knew that when Gracie put Oleg Taktarov to sleep with the technique and Bustamante sent Jerry Bohlander to dreamland with the move that they'd be paving the way for an Armenian warrior to counter world-class grappling with a well-timed foot to the face whilst lying on his back?
Rumors abound concerning EliteXC's dire financial straits, Afflictions impending doom, the demise of the newssource FightNetwork and what-have-you. But this is really nothing new. Like the stock market, the MMA market cyclical, and after every boom comes a period of economic downturn. Back in 1996, when the UFC's original incarnation was pulling in Earth-shattering pay-per-view buy rates, the industry was flush with money and people angling for a share of it. Remember Extreme Fighting and the World Combat Championship? I do. They were nice, big alternatives to the UFC that bled money like crazy. A market downturn killed them off, enabling the strong to live on. In 2001 Zuffa bought the UFC and began making strides in getting the sport back on track, and the industry took off again. Remember the WFA? Or Ultimate Athlete magazine? I do, and I remember the inevitable market downturn once more rearing its ugly head. The Ultimate Fighter came along in 2005, providing yet another infusion of consumer dollars which in turn prompted the creation of the IFL and BodogFIGHT. Are you sensing a pattern here? You should be. It's the "same old, same old", and if the market demands that EliteXC folds (doubtful), Affliction dies (likely), or that the FightNetwork goes bye-bye (see ya!), well... that's just part of the cycle. Trust me, MMA will get "huge" again - and flush with fools and faulty business models just like it always does.
With more seasons left on their SpikeTV contract but clearly running out of ideas, the powers that be behind "The Ultimate Fighter" have concocted a new angle for the ninth edition of the long-running reality show. Dubbed "TUF 9: Sharks vs. Jets", the up-coming installment will feature two teams, each comprised of American and Puerto Rican competitors, and in addition to the training segments and scenes within the infamous TUF house, there will be songs and intricate dance numbers. Said UFC Chief Profanity-Spewer Dana White: "I'm really excited for it. It's the best season ever. So much happens, you're not going to believe it... Huh? We haven't filmed it yet? Uh, then it will definitely be the best season ever. Believe it, motherf*%$er!"