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Under the Radar (Editorial)

UFC LogoA lot has gone on in the world of MMA in the last four weeks:

  1. Mauricio Rua looked less than impressive in getting back in the win column against the aging, and clearly out of gas Mark Coleman.
  2. Dan Henderson fought Rich Franklin at Light Heavyweight to garner yet another decision victory. This victory locked in his position as the US coach for “The Ultimate Fighter 9: US v. UK” which will presumable lead to a bout at Middleweight against UK coach Michael Bisping.
  3. Fedor Emelianenko obliterated yet another former UFC champion, who the UFC no longer saw fit to employ.
  4. Vitor Belfort showed that he can still be a devastating fighter with his scary KO of Matt Lindland, but then immediately showed he doesn’t care about stringing together wins and called out Fedor.
  5. Jens Pulver got beaten for the third consecutive time, leading him to consider calling it a career.
  6. A controversial illegal knee put Jamie Varner’s career at risk, but at this point no news seems to be good news for his return.
  7. Nate Diaz finally lost, hopefully the first of many.
  8. Eight Consecutive fights went to a decision.
  9. Lyoto Machida finally put on an exciting showing. KOing Thiago Silva just before the bell at the end of round 1
  10. BJ Penn got obliterated by GSP, then we got “Grease Gate”.
  11. ProElite Assets were sold, but ProElite still exists, but now Strikeforce has a lot more fighters, and now the fighters are (presumably) out of limbo.
  12. Dan Miller stepped in and won on short notice, again.
  13. Anthony Johnson once again confirmed that he’s got a lot of potential.
  14. Mac Danzig is working on securing his position as one of the worst TUF winners, he has now lost twice consecutively.
  15. Joe Lauzon confirmed that he’s a real contender at 155

The point of listing all that is to show just how many significant things have taken place in the past four weeks alone, in the world of MMA. You’ll notice, however, that the title of this entry is “Under the Radar.” The reason for that is, that something has flown in, “under the radar.” In the midst of everything that’s gonna, with all the coverage of both the ProElite/Strikeforce deal, and “Grease Gate”, there is one story that no one seems to be covering:

Zuffa, LLC. has just completed a string of four consecutive weeks where they put on a ten fight card (Zuffa, LLC. is the parent company of both the UFC and the WEC). That’s forty fights in four weeks folks. Each fight takes two combatants, so that’s eighty fighters. They take a week off for Valentine’s, then they have another three week stretch with events every week. Two of those cards have eleven fights scheduled, and one has ten.* That’s a further thirty-two fights, and sixty-four fighters.
If you’re following along and doing the math, you’ve figured out by now that by March 8, Zuffa, LLC will have put on seven events in eight weeks. The total number of fights will be seventy-two, and fighters involved one hundred forty-four. I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive. Some people have complained about the lack of big names on the cards of some of these events, but all of the events still include/d intriguing match-ups. But what the people that make those complaints fail to realize is the sheer magnitude of one company being able to put on seven MMA events in eight weeks. The magnitude of this accomplishment grows even more when you realize that just five years ago, in 2004, Zuffa put on a sum total for the whole year of five events. They had the same total in 2003, and only had six in 2002.
A lot of people seem to want to jump on the “Bash UFC/Zuffa bandwagon” because they claim that they “don’t pay their fighters enough.” These people claim that Zuffa, LLC should follow in Affliction’s footsteps and off the fighters larger purses. What these people are ignoring, is the sheer volume of fighters who are getting paid to do what they love. Affliction only has a stable of just over twenty fighters, and has only put on two events in the course of seven months, while Zuffa puts on seven events in two (a very striking comparison of ratios events:months Affliction – 2:7 Zuffa – 7:2). Affliction may be raising the bar of pay for the top tier fighters, but Zuffa is raising the bar for the number fighters getting paid. If you are a true fan of the sport of MMA, I think you’ll find the latter to be more beneficial.
*Portions of these cards remain rumors at this point, as they are not officially posted on the organizations’ websites.

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