UFC is knocking out the competition


East718, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

Zach Zeman believes the UFC will be the 2nd biggest sports organization in the world, 2nd only to the NFL.

Zach Zeman, Print EIC

When most hear the words Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), they typically think of ruthless humans fighting each other in order to make a living. Although that statement is partly true, the sport of MMA and the company of UFC are so much more than just another night of fights. MMA is an electric sport that attracts millions of people around the globe. The UFC is a company that promotes the sport of MMA through pay per views, fight nights, and more. As of 2018, the UFC roster consisted of hundreds of fighters calling 60 different countries home. From various brand deals, traveling across the globe and hosting the best fighters in the world, the UFC is going to become one of the most popular sports brands amongst the MLB, NHL, and NBA in the next couple of years. Just wait.

The company of UFC, led by commissioner Dana White, has been gaining millions of followers and much more recognition due to big names such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Rhonda Rousey to name a few. These athletes have lost very few amounts of matches and have achieved impressive stats due to knockouts and finishes. It is clear to say that because of these athletes’ excellence in the sport of MMA and impressive fights, they contribute to a large sum of the UFC’s success.

The UFC travels and visits cities around the globe including Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, and Las Vegas, as well as smaller cities like our own Minneapolis. According to UFC.com, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was named as the UFC’s exclusive Las Vegas arena destination. The constructing of this arena marks the first time that a global sports brand, other than a professional sports franchise, has been named as an Anchor Tenant for a sports and entertainment venue. “Las Vegas has always been the home of UFC, and after more than a decade it is awesome to now have a historic venue deal in the Fight Capital of the World to make it official,” UFC President Dana White said.

One of the most recent events the UFC held was called UFC 243 in Melbourne. To give you some context, UFC numbers all of their pay-per-views, so this was their 243rd event. The event featured two of the best Middleweight fighters including Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. In front of a whopping 57,127 fans, Adesanya ultimately knocked out Whittaker. The last time a UFC event took place in Melbourne was UFC 193 where Adesanya watched in the crowd. “I was in the nose bleeds (back in 2015) and now I’m about to make his nose bleed.” And he indeed did make Whittaker’s nose bleed that night.

What makes the UFC especially interesting to fans is the stories behind the athletes. Once you follow the sport for a while, you tend to gain an understanding of the specific fighters’ backgrounds, previous bouts, personalities through social media, and various rivals. For instance, UFC fighter Conor McGregor is most known for making news headlines because of various actions. These may include the amounts of money he made from his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather to viral videos about his obnoxious behaviors at weigh-ins and press conferences.

The company of UFC, led by commissioner Dana White, has been gaining millions of followers and much more recognition due to big names such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Rhonda Rousey to name a few.

— Zach Zeman

But how does the UFC make sure the best of the best are on their roster? On June 18, Dana White and the UFC opened a brand new 130,000 square foot building named UFC APEX®. This building is considered “a massive game-changer for combat sports and the UFC … This facility gives us the flexibility to try new things and push the envelope on producing and distributing combat sports all over the world,” White said in an interview by the UFC staff report.

How do upcoming fighters get a chance into the big leagues? Well UFC APEX® also holds a small arena where Dana White’s Contender Series gives those fighters a shot to prove themselves in front of their trainers, fans and the head honchos including White himself. If White is impressed by a performance in the Contender Series, he offers the athletes’ contracts into the UFC.

What makes the UFC different from any other sport is that the fighter is basically their own team. This means that the fighters can make brand deals and make a name for themselves without necessarily representing a team. One of these may include the famous Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey collaboration Mcgregor has made to promote their business with him. Because of various deals with the many different companies and fighters, the UFC gains more and more fans who use these products.

The UFC is a sport where at any second of any fight, something unthinkable could happen. Thrilling fights and events can lead to the fans becoming immersed into the action because of the betting culture that Las Vegas brings. Various bets range from how the fight ends to how many rounds the bout is.

On March 18th, 2019 ESPN+ and UFC agreed on a seven-year agreement which will bring UFC even more fans. For those who don’t quite know what ESPN+ is, it’s a streaming service just like Netflix and HBO but only streams events strictly related to sports. With the UFC joining forces with ESPN, this will be available for a $49.99 yearly rate. But if you wish to watch a pay-per-view on the streaming service, it will cost an additional $30.00 if you have an account. This may sound like a lot of money for some people, but if you take the time to think about it, you will see that when you become a member, you gain access to many sports-related documentaries, recaps, videos, and more for $49.99 for an entire year rather than paying $64.99 for just one night prior to the companies merging.

So next time you consider watching a UFC fight card, do it! I can’t sports fans encourage enough to consider watching the sport of MMA. After all, this sport will be taking over your television before you know it so you might as well start now. For those who don’t like watching fights, it may be hard to persuade you to switch over and watch, but I do recommend at least trying to dip your toes in the water. Give it at most a couple of years and all you will see on your Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more will be about fans raving and talking about the sport of MMA and the company of UFC.