Should the UFC have an off-season?
Another day and another injury, this time it’s UFC on Fox 4 headliner Brian Stann pulling out of his fight against Hector Lombard which was due to take place in August.
While fans understand that cards are subject to change right up to show time, the recent spate of injuries and suspensions has left us all deflated as we see great fights rearranged.
Fortunately the UFC matchmakers have been doing a great job so far of replacing fighters with equally exciting prospects.
Exciting cards are fast becoming quieter sideshows as we miss out on battles such as Junior Dos Santos versus Overeem, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua versus Thiago Silva and Dominick Cruz versus Urijah Faber.
When the UFC introduced fighter insurance early 2011, it was an opportunity for those injured to maintain a salary that would have been otherwise earned during a fight, and was celebrated among the community. With the fighters consistently putting their bodies on the line for entertainment it was only fair to compensate when injury or accident happens either in training or on a show.
Combine this with the increased schedule of fights combing the PPV, UFC on Fox, UFC on Fuel and UFC on FX cards, the fighters are having to perform more regularly than their pre-Fox predecessors.
The increase of training schedules also increases the chance for injury and/or the likelihood of fighters cutting corners.
Given that the UFC is attempting to become more mainstream like the NFL and MLB, perhaps they should also look at the “seasonal model” that these sports follow.
The use of a seasonal model provides benefits for both fans and fighters.
An “off season” will allow fighters the opportunity to undertake any necessary medical operations – this will then decrease the out-of-competition time and also may reduce the need for interim titles, which are not only confusing but unnecessary if the interim champ refuses to fight.
For the fans, this solves the problem to whether the sport is suffering from market over-saturation. Start the season with a stacked PPV card which can get the fans excited and guaranteed sales, then work the UFC on Fox/Fuel/FX cards for upcoming exciting contender’s fights.
This could occur over an eight month period of the year, leaving four months for the “off season”.
It could be that the UFC is just undergoing a spate of bad luck. That said, injuries will continue to happen, especially if we demand so much more of the fighters.
Therefore, an “off season” may not be so bad after all.
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