When many bands start out, they decry the prospect of going mainstream as “selling out”, and swear that if they ever do, it means they’ve lost their “edge” will promptly disband. But with mainstream success and popularity comes paychecks, and suddenly the ability to eat at nice restaurants and buy stuff you could never afford before seems to outweigh that once-firmly-held belief that being underground is the most important thing at all.
Such is the case with the UFC – or, at least, how many view the UFC. There was a time when there were only four or five UFC events a year, and they weren’t even allowed on pay-per-view. There was a time when merchandise was limited to whatever was thrown together and sold at a table in the lobby of the arena where the UFC was holding a show. There was a time when fighting in the cage was a fringe thing. People like to look back and think that was the apex of cool.
Which means nowadays the UFC sucks. As per Kotaku:
Now everybody just kinda looks the same. Oh, and most of them get paid a lot less too. I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars less per fight. In a sport where a surprising amount of money goes toward paying for training, medical expenses, and other termite-like fees, that’s no good. It makes lower-profile UFC competitors like Bellator look more attractive to young up-and-coming fighters. I’m not saying there isn’t a good version of this Reebok deal, a compromise waiting somewhere in the ether. I’m just saying this isn’t it.
Meanwhile, the UFC is putting on more events than ever. These days, there’s a fight card almost every week. There are so many fighters—only a fraction of them actually good or noteworthy—that even people like me struggle to keep up. I mean, the sheer fucking volume of it all. UFC 100-whatever. UFC Fight Night Vitamin B12. UFC In A Box On Fox With Goddamn Green Eggs And Ham. BIG NUMBERS. ANGRY MEN GRIMACING ON POSTERS.
There’s a lot more lamenting in that article. A lot more. But you get the gist.
So what do you think? Has the UFC lost its soul? Or is this just what happens when a spectacle evolves into a sport?