Crouching UFC, Hidden PPV

UFC 147 is set to arrive to cap off a great two-day stint for MMA fans: Friday brings us the free UFC on FX 4, featuring a great main event of Gray “The Bully” Maynard vs. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida, as well as Bellator 71 on MTV2, and XFC 18 on HD-Net. It is truly a great time to be a fan of mixed martial arts.

With all three promotions going full-tilt, the UFC is in prime position to capitalize on all the excitement. BBQs, parties and great weather make for the perfect PPV setting. You’d think they would be beside-themselves happy at this moment, and promoting the hell out of their PPV card.

Instead, it’s almost like they would rather you focus on the, admittedly, much bigger names to fight at UFC 148 and 149, holding press conferences on those events and getting the buzz going for them rather than this one. At least, that seems to be the case in America.

You hear Dana White talking at length about how MMA has exploded in Brazil. So much so, that it’s been said that it rivals the popularity of Soccer amongst young men. (that may be an overstatement). So perhaps Zuffa is spending it’s promotional muscle in Brazil and not in the US, where changes to the card have left it seemingly a little weak compared with the UFC’s usual offerings…

This card was originally announced with much fanfare. It was gonna be huge. HUGE. Main event Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva IN BRAZIL?!? People weren’t just talking about the fight, but whether or not Sonnen would even be able to exit the country in one piece! (Not from Silva—from the fans!)

Under that you had the culmination of the first “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in Brazil. The coaches, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort were going to fight in what was promising to be a war.

Then the issues with the location came up. And injuries crept in, forcing Vitor Belfort out. They moved Sonnen-Silva to Vegas, talked about having Jose Aldo defend his belt there and then moved that fight to 149, dropped in Rich Franklin (always the company man) and promoted Mike Russow vs. Fabricio Werdum to the co-main event.

With an undercard of relatively unknown fighters from TUF Brazil and those headliners, a lot of air was let out of the UFC 147 balloon. It didn’t help that it was following an exciting UFC 146 all-heavyweight card and that both 148 & 149 are to follow…

The UFC is doing some promotion, but overall, it seems like this might be a PPV largely sold outside of America. Sure, lots of people will watch because that’s what they do, but as far as the population as a whole, Friday’s free card has a lot more appeal.

That said: don’t sleep on UFC 147. There’s a lot of talent in Brazil, and I predict you’ll miss some great MMA action if you do.