Sunday, 13 March 2011

A dedicated second division under the UFC

The time is right for a dedicated two league system of MMA.

Too many fighters get cut from the UFC only to find themselves out of the TV spotlight and looking for regional shows.
Too many fighters lose valuable career months being caught up in contracts that stop them from competing for rival organisations.

Conflict between promotions gets us nowhere as a sport. Affliction vs UFC, Strikeforce vs UFC… all just creates bickering, and the belittlement of great fighters by promoters- just because they don’t fight for their organisation.

That helps no-one, it’s not good for the sport and only fuels forum trolling.
Put aside all pointless promotional loyalty, and think about it from the perspective of fighters, fans, and the future stability of MMA. Nobody wants to see a potential promotion battle that ends with only one survivor. That is not good business.

If it can be acknowledged that the UFC have the largest world foothold in MMA (the most shows, most countries, widest world TV coverage) then they are the League One of MMA.
If the UFC are League One, Strikeforce would obviously be League Two.

If the idea of Strikeforce being League Two fills you with anti Zuffa-shill rage, please feel free to place an imaginary organisation as the League Two promotion. It doesn’t matter to me, I am using them because I think that bias aside, they are the logical second position huge promotion.

This is not just a case of ‘Why can’t we all just get along.’ This is not Co-promotion, or an attempt to look down on League Two fighters either.
Championhip football teams in England are supported with no less passion than Premier League teams. It is simply a necessity in a sport that is expanding quickly, that there is a more logical structure to the two biggest shows.

There has to be a more dedicated step below the UFC and above regional shows, and there are numerous benefits in having a definite league one, league two approach.

Great for the fighters: revolving doors at the bottom of the UFC and the top of Strikeforce. Two separate organisations commentary teams could actually mention and compliment the other’s fighters without it being perceived a threat to personal business. An agreement between promotions regarding smooth contact transitions means fighters would keep food on the table.

Great for both organisations: The UFC has a constant supply of winning fighters who have proved themselves in League Two, who are known to fans. Strikeforce have a constant supply of fighters who there just isn’t room for on UFC rosters. Fighters that have not peaked yet, or have peaked but still have a lot of great fights in them.
League Two will also showcase more exciting new stars who are on their way up.

Great for the fans: Instead of struggling together, two separate organisations could streamline a fighter’s career path and put more energy into MMA expansion.

So there it is.
Unlikely to ever happen, as companies rarely cut through the bull for the benefit of others, and very unlikely Strikeforce would accept the role of League Two.

That aside, do you agree that it could work as a system? Perhaps with another promoter as a dedicated League Two?
If you are a fighter, would you welcome a defined two league system?