UFC 115: The Aftermath

Posted: June 14, 2010 in UFC

*Photo is from UFC.com

Thank you UFC.  I usually cringe when PPV cards come up without a title fight.  They usually have the feel of ‘the B squad’ in terms of athlete caliber.  However, UFC 115 delivered on all fronts.  Carlos Condit and new comer Rory MacDonald put on one of the best three round wars I have seen in a long time.  Had Condit not poured it on in the third for the TKO, the hometown hero MacDonald may have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in a while.

In the heavyweight division, Mirko Cro Cop and Pat Barry showed fans what MMA is all about: Respect, heart and a range of skill sets.  In between hugs and high-fives these two monster went to war on one another.  Trading kicks and punches I almost thought that as they collided the Kraken may be released from its slumber.  But the true surprise of the evening was the finish.  No one, no one thought this fight was going to the ground unless an unconscious body fell in that direction.  Winning by rear naked choke, Cro Cop proved to fans that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Now, before I get to the main event, let’s look at the marketing power behind this card.

It wasn’t so long ago that the only sponsor you could see in the Octagon was Xience and Mickey’s malt liquor.  Let’s look at what we saw on this card: Bud Light, Harley Davidson, TapOut, Affliction,  Xience, BSN , the video game “Crackdown 2,” The Movie “The Expendables,” and General Motor’s place (a given since it was taking place there.)  However, as the UFC is brilliant in its own marketing it also found places to advertise a multitude of UFC  products including:  UFC 116 Lesnar vs Carwin (multiple times), UFC Fight Night, UFC Undisputed 2010 video game, WEC: Varner vs Shalorus, the Best of Rampage Jackson DVD, and of course Dana White’s Twitter handle (@DanaWhite if you missed it.)  Some fans may see all this and roll their eyes, but I love it.  Seeing these types of brands associating themselves with the UFC further validates the sport of MMA by showing there is a desire by “big business” to invest in reaching out to its audience.  (As a side note, my favorite piece of marketing fell to TapOut who branded their logo directly onto Stitch’s cold compress to ensure they were visible during every break in between rounds.)

The End of “The Ice Age”

Well folks, I’ll always be willing to admit I’m wrong when proven so.  I did say in an earlier post that Rich “Ace” Franklin would defeat Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell in the third round by TKO.  Silly me, he won by devastating knockout in the very first round leaving Liddell virtually comatose on the floor.   He also did this with a broken left arm – a result of blocking a Liddell body kick.  In an upcoming post, I’ll focus on why Franklin winning is a PR goldmine but for now, let’s focus on what this means for Liddell.

This defeat marks yet another KO defeat for a man who made his name in knocking others silly.  Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, “Sugar” Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and now Rich Franklin have all defeated Liddell in recent years with stunning knockouts.   With his chin now established as broken glass, if I’m the UFC I would be nervous that at this rate the former champion and UFC Hall of Famer would be marking himself as the first death in MMA.   If that were to happen it would not only be a tragedy in loss of life, it would undue every positive step the sport has taken since the early days of the UFC tournaments to protect the fighters.

Instead of becoming the sport’s only victim, I’d prefer to see him cash in on his name while he still can.  Some potential opportunities include:

  • UFC Commentator/spokesperson – There is no denying that the UFC is grateful for everything Liddell as done for them in terms of popularity.  They could easily use him at live events, talk shows, etc as an ambassador to the sport.
  • Hit up ESPN – The ESPN team has always prided itself on presenting the best team to cover any sport.  Well, with MMA on the rise here is the chance to bring one of its biggest names into the roster as an analyst. 
  • Expand The Pit/Create new schools – Although he lost the fight, Liddell looked to be in better shape than he had in years.  As proven on the Ultimate Fighter, Liddell can coach and can offer young fighters a lot of knowledge.  If he wants to stay close to the sport, this is one of the best options.
  • Acting – This speaks for itself.  With his build, confidence and persona Liddell could easily find himself in a Hollywood action movie.  If Randy Couture can do it, there is no reason Liddell couldn’t try.

If Chuck decides to try the fight game again, I will not recognize him as The Iceman anymore, but instead as Randy “the Ram” Robinson.  Ram Jam…Ram Jam….Ram Jam…..(fade to black.)

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Comments
  1. […] to UFC 115, this card had its fair share of heavy-hitter sponsors: The movie The Expendables, Harley Davidson, […]

  2. […] interesting update.  Rich is now raffling off the cast he received from fighting Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 for charity.  Although I haven’t seen a social media push here, it is certainly a cause worth […]

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