Boxing, like every other sport, dwindled during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ever since former welterweight champion Georges Saint-Pierre vacated his title following UFC 167, the UFC has lost some notable spark.
The injury to former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva exacerbates the issue. These men are two of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and it’s amazing how quickly the landscape has changed.
There are few fighters left with star power – reigning light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey come to mind. And sure, there are other champions such as Jose Aldo and Cain Velasquez, but they do not sell pay-per-views on their names alone.
The UFC looks slim in star power and the rankings system is full of fighters nowhere near the calibre of the champions in their respective divisions.
Who is to blame for such a decline? The man who made the business as popular as it is today, UFC president Dana White. White was once great for the industry and undoubtedly helped to make the UFC the beast it is today. However, he has drastically lost his touch and many fans are getting tired of his antics.
Champions have far too often been allowed to choose their opponents, which goes against the credibility of the UFC. Jones notably handpicked his upcoming fight with Glover Teixeira over a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson. White continually allows such ludicrous things to happen, and they hurt the sport.
This is supposed to be the top MMA organisation in the world.
White also slanders former legends of the company who helped make UFC what it is today. Too often White has insulted fighters such as Randy Couture, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz. He has become so delusional that he recently stated that St Pierre, the promotion’s long time top pay-per-view draw, owes the UFC.
There are also many ageing fighters allowed to fight way past their heyday. Time and time again we witness fighters like Frank Mir and Wanderlei Silva take a beating, barring the occasional win. There is such a blatant lack of regard for a fighter’s physical well-being that it has become normal for them to compete years past their prime.
The UFC needs a fresh face to promote the sport and help it evolve. White will not be the man to take the company to the next level and ZUFFA needs to realise this before he bleeds the company dry. A fresh face will do many wonders for the UFC.
Gone should be the days of bringing boxers, professional wrestlers and street fighters into the promotion.