Over Saturation: A Real Problem for the UFC

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“Over saturation” has been a huge topic amongst MMA fans and media members for the last year or so. Many people in the MMA community believe the UFC has overextended themselves and went too far with the amount of fight cards they are putting on each year.

Now you may not think this is such a huge issue if you are an avid MMA fan and enjoy watching the UFC’s cards almost every weekend, but just to prove my point, the UFC is set to put on 43 fight cards in 2014 and even more in 2015. They have increased the amount of cards by ten since 2012 just two years ago, and will continue to go up over time.

Another stat to think about is that there are 52 weeks in a year. Putting on 43 fight cards a year is extremely close to having a card per week. This would have been unheard of in the UFC’s glory days from years past.

This “over saturation” topic poses a few major problems in my opinion. The obvious one is that with all these cards happening it makes each card less stacked because the company needs all these fighters to fill the large amounts of cards happening. Cards are simply just not as appealing anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great cards this year and great fights that haven’t looked good on paper.

But let’s be honest, when was the last time we saw a card that had even remotely close to the amount of star power that UFC 100 did back in July of 2009?

Another major problem is that when injuries occur, which seems to be more often than ever nowadays, the UFC simply does not have enough fighters available to step in. This has caused events to be canceled, cards to be completely ruined, and fans disappointed in what the company calls a pay-per-view (PPV). For example, Dan Henderson getting injured caused UFC 151 to be canceled as well as Jose Aldo’s injury causing UFC 176 to be nixed just four short weeks ago.

This specific issue has come to full fruition today regarding tomorrow’s (August 30, 2014) UFC 177 PPV event live from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. The bout was supposed to be headlined by a very anticipated rematch between T.J Dillashaw and former bantamweight champ Renan Barao. The co-main event was expected to be a flyweight championship bout between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso. Two championship bouts gave the card a decent appeal, despite a lackluster undercard to go with it. However, the injury bug struck again.

Jon Jones, who was supposed to be headlining the highly anticipated UFC 178 card, suffered a leg injury during training which left the card without a main event. The UFC quickly announced that Johnson vs. Cariaso would be moved to the main event of that card. This helped save UFC 178, but left UFC 177 feeling weak. The problems did not end there for the UFC, as it was announced today (August 29, 2014) that Renan Barao became ill during his weight cut and would not be able to compete. The UFC announced that unknown bantamweight Joe Soto would make the jump from the prelims to take on Dillashaw for the belt in his UFC debut.

In my opinion, this unfortunate serious of events has left UFC 177 looking rather pathetic. And all of this goes back to the problem of over saturation. The UFC had no one to step in to save this event which was already a disappointing looking card again due to over saturation.

If the UFC would just cut down on the number of events they run, we as fans would get more well-rounded cards rather to just more cards. This seems to be a serious issue in today’s age, making the UFC just another weekly event rather than fans experiencing the exciting build-up to a stacked card. Fans don’t even have enough time to get hyped for a card now a days, forgetting the fact that the card may not even be interesting.

Do you prefer the almost weekly cards, or would you rather the UFC put on the blockbuster events we remember from a few years back?

 

  • I miss the days when they had one card a month and it was always stacked

    • I hated that shit, I struggled getting through 2 weeks without the fights recently, as a die hard fan having so many fight cards is heaven, how would die hard NFL fans feel if they could only watch 1 days worth of NFL then none for the next month or 2? Fuck that, the fights this year have been outstanding, I would say out of 200 fights 185 haves been top quality.

      As the UFCs roster continue to grow the UFC HAVE to put on MORE cards that are not as stacked as the most stacked of the year. This year there have been 4 cards on paper that look pathetic and they all turned out to be some of the best UFC shows in the history of MMA. On the other hand I have seen some very stacked cards on paper turn out to be complete stinkers. Even huge big name fights with Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson have been some of the most boring fights ever.

      There is no doubt that the card looks completely pathetic on paper, that does not mean the card will be pathetic, but its simply not worth the money no matter how good the fights are. Look at next weeks card, that shit looks like a PPV and the Barao vs TJ card looked like a fox card, baffling.

  • The cards are just fine! the majority of the cards this year were great and i love the almost weekly cards. What happened with 177/178 is unfortunate but completely out of the UFC's hands. It's a combat sport, people get injured and others just need to make better choices (all the weight cut problems). More or less cards does not change it. The UFC has plenty of fighters to put on a lot of good cards, as they have been doing. Sometimes shit just happens. 177 certainly is not a great card at this point, but there are still a bunch of interesting matchups and it could still be very entertaining. Is it PPV worthy? certainly not.. but it is what it is.

  • i love how this only comes up when a problem like this arises. this shit has been an issue for a long time now and its only getting worst. ufc has never canceled an event before these past 2 years and now they have cancelled 2 and wouldve been 3 if it wasnt 24 hours before. The ufc needs to go back to what made them successful in the first place which is the HARDCORE fans. they keep pushing more and more to get new viewers and its turning out bad for everyone. the total PPV buys for this card and the DJ card together will be less than the lowest PPV card ufc has had in years past. no body needs a ufc card every week. just a couple years ago a fight night card was almost like a PPV because there were barely any of them in a year now we have 2 on 1 day

    • What makes the UFC successful is progression and opening new markets, taking the brand worldwide. Why would they have to take a step back? what kind of ridiculous business decision would that be? As a brand you need to move forward and keep growing, not limit yourself. Expansion is key, that's why they're making 10x as much money as 5 years ago and have 10x as much fans right now worldwide. Nobody is telling hardcore fans to watch every single card. If you don't like certain cards or cards that are not stacked with big names. Don't watch it… watch the ones you like to see. The international cards they have right now are for the international markets. It comes with growth. If you don't like multiple cards and weekly events, you're not a fan of the sport. I don't hear football, baseball, hockey or basketball fans complain about "too many games"… it doesn't make sense.

      • do other sports fans watch every single game? probably not they pick and choose the good games. i wouldnt give two shits if the Pats were playing the Bucs so i would skip it and thats the path UFC is going. there was a time when every card was special and you would atleast try to tune in for every one because they weren't on that often. I used to a be a HUGE fan i wouldnt miss even a prelim fight but now i honestly barely ever get excited for events. last couple of months unless its a PPV ive pretty much been skipping most of the FN cards and only tuning in for the fights i actually cared about so maybe im not a "real" fan anymore but it seems the ufc isnt targeting real fans anyway just want more more more…expansion is good but not at such a rapid rate. you have like 5 different TUF shows at once, most will only watch 1 then when the other tuf fighter come into the ufc no1 knows them except a select market like canada, china brazil ect. the recent China card i didnt know ANYTHING about 85% of the card so why would i watch it? just for the sake of watching mma? i have been watching it for years i know what will happen, now its about having a connection to fighters and i have almost none to most of the roster

        • Like i said… u dont have to watch every card! Watch the fights you like. Like fans do with every other major sport! The UFC is pretty much mainstream now, they have 500 fighters that need to eat and tons of international fans to entertain. So they're doing what they have to do. For TUF same story.. u dont have to watch all of them. TUF Brazil is not for you, TUF Latin is not for you… Those are for the Brazilian and Latin American market! The China card was not for you either, it's for China! A true MMA/UFC fan will watch it ANYWAY, for the simple fact you're a fan and the UFC now made the cards and TUF shows of other markets easily accessible for us through Fight Pass (which is great), but again.. nobody is forcing you to watch it all.

  • Completely disagree with this article. The ufc has a large roster fighters. If they did fewer events then most fighters would probably get to fight only twice a year max, and that isn't enough to pay the bills and feed families. The guy who wrote this is probably a selfish prick.
    Plus if you are a true fan, you would appreciate having more than 1card a month. There are still plenty of stacked cards. No one is forcing you to watch the free ones with not as big names, stick ratio your monthly schedule out you want and skip the rest.

    • Stick to your monthly schedule if you want and skip the rest. *

    • Not exactly sure how you came to the conclusion that 'the guy who wrote this is probably a selfish prick'….

  • I have been saying this is going to happen for years now. UFC just like any business is about constantly improving and growing essentially try to make more money than they did the year before. Once you maximize that MMA market and initial hype to the masses it's going to be hard to maintain that excitement for every card. This is where Dana White needs to be a stronger promoter and care more about maintaining a fan base and keeping that fan base excited compared to just turning out fight card after fight card trying to make more money. It's no mystery in the business world that companies can get to big for their own good, remember GM?

    In my opinion if the UFC wants to maintain the highest level fights in MMA they have to put a cap of say 20 maybe 25 fighters per division. If you want to talk about over saturation look at how many fighters there are per weight class in the UFC. 109 welterweights, 104 lightweights? yeah I know all those listed aren't active but its still way to many fighters per division to maintain fight cards fans are going to be super hyped up for. I'm not saying lower ranked or lesser known fighters cant put on exciting fights but they're certainly not going to sell pay per views or hold peoples interests like top ranked established fighters. UFC cant have 75 fighters battling for 1 title when fighters only fight 3 or 4 times a year at most. It seems a bit ridiculous to me and its watering down the fight cards. I watch the UFC to see the best of the best which is what they have on their rosters, when I want to see more amateurish style of fights with lesser known and ranked fighters I watch Bellator. I still watch the UFC free cards but I'm not paying or getting hyped up for an event like UFC 177 to watch Tony Ferguson fight on the co main event that's not a draw for me.