In the old days, there were about five UFC events a year, and aside from finagling VHS tapes of stuff from Japan, that was pretty much it for fight fans. Now, the UFC is contractually obligated to do a ton of fights for FOX each year, plus do pay-per-view events, plus provide content for Fight Pass. On some weeks, there’s even more than one UFC event! But there are signs that the number one MMA promotion in the world is slowly trying to re-brand as a seasonal sport. Check out the following press release:
For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2015
UFC® TO ‘GO BIG’ WITH NEW SEASONAL CAMPAIGN
LAUNCH EVENT IN LAS VEGAS ON SEPT. 4
Las Vegas – UFC® will GO BIG on Friday, Sept. 4, with the announcement of its new seasonal campaign, showcasing a series of can’t-miss fights on its upcoming live event schedule. UFC President Dana White will be joined in Las Vegas by many of the top fighters in the world in advance of UFC 191 to preview the upcoming lineup. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at 1 p.m. PT, and will be streamed live on ufc.com.
UFC champions Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor, Robbie Lawler, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rafael Dos Anjos, as well as top contenders Alexander Gustafsson, Carlos Condit, Luke Rockhold, Donald Cerrone, Dan Henderson, Holly Holm and Vitor Belfort will be among the more than 20 fighters participating in the launch event. The complete list of fighters attending will be announced in the coming days.
GO BIG will launch September 26 with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BARNETT vs. NELSON and will culminate on January 2, 2016 with UFC® 195: ROUSEY vs. HOLM. Strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her title at UFC 195, opponent to be determined, marking the first ever UFC event in which the main and co-main events feature women’s title defenses. The campaign will also include a special two-event weekend, featuring THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER®: TEAM MCGREGOR vs. TEAM FABER FINALE (Friday, Dec. 11) and UFC 194 (Saturday, Dec. 12).
Following the announcement, the UFC invites media and fans to attend the UFC 191 weigh-ins at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The following athletes will headline UFC events during the GO BIG seasonal campaign:
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BARNETT vs. NELSON
Sunday, September 27 (Saturday, September 26 in U.S.) at Saitama Arena in Tokyo, Japan
· Josh Barnett – former UFC heavyweight champion and No. 8 heavyweight contender
· Roy Nelson – No. 12 heavyweight contender
UFC® 192: CORMIER vs. GUSTAFSSON
Saturday, October 3 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas
· Daniel Cormier – UFC light heavyweight champion
· Alexander Gustafsson – No. 2 light heavyweight contender
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: POIRIER vs. DUFFY
Saturday, October 24 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland
· Dustin Poirier – No. 13 lightweight contender
· Joseph Duffy – lightweight contender
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: HENDERSON vs. BELFORT
Saturday, November 7 at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil
· Dan Henderson – former STRIKEFORCE® and PRIDE® champion
· Vitor Belfort – former UFC light heavyweight champion and No. 4 middleweight contender
UFC® 193: LAWLER vs. CONDIT
Sunday, November 15 (Saturday, November 14 in U.S.) at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia
· Robbie Lawler – UFC welterweight champion
· Carlos Condit – former UFC interim welterweight champion and No. 4 welterweight contender
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BROWN vs. GASTELUM
Saturday, November 21 at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico
· Matt Brown – No. 5 welterweight contender
· Kelvin Gastelum – No. 14 welterweight contender
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: HENDERSON vs. ALVES
Saturday, November 28 at Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, Korea
· Benson Henderson – former UFC lightweight champion
· Thiago Alves – No. 13 welterweight contender
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER®: TEAM MCGREGOR vs. TEAM FABER FINALE
Friday, December 11 at TBD in Las Vegas, Nev.
· Fight card to be announced
· The Ultimate Fighter® season 22 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
UFC® 194: ALDO vs. MCGREGOR
Saturday, December 12 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
· Jose Aldo – UFC featherweight champion
· Conor McGregor – UFC interim featherweight champion
· Chris Weidman – UFC middleweight champion
· Luke Rockhold – former STRIKEFORCE® middleweight champion and No. 1 middleweight contender
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: DOS ANJOS vs. CERRONE
Saturday, December 19 at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
· Rafael Dos Anjos – UFC lightweight champion
· Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone – No. 2 lightweight contender
UFC® 195: ROUSEY vs. HOLM
Saturday, January 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
· Ronda Rousey – UFC women’s bantamweight champion
· Holly Holm – No. 9 UFC women’s bantamweight contender
· Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC women’s strawweight champion
For information on tickets for all UFC events, please visit ufc.com/event-ticket-info.
Additional information and current fight news is available at ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.
Almost all major sports operate in seasons, and for good reason: It helps relieve consumer fatigue, and it conditions fans to have a heightened sense of anticipation when it comes to bigger events (think: baseball’s World Series, football’s Superbowl and hockey’s Stanley Cup). If the UFC were to have seasons, they’d be able to maximize interest in certain big shows without having to start from zero and sell each pay-per-view like it’s the best thing to ever happen.
Obviously, we’ve already come to expect major events during the Fourth of July weekend and at the end of the year; a set season would just be acknowledging those time periods as something more important than the rest.
What do you think? Should the UFC adopt seasons?