UFC 136: The Aftermath

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Marketing, PR, UFC

Where do I even begin with dissecting last weekend’s PPV card?  There were so many unexpected turn of events that remind fans why this sport is so great.  Anything can happen.  Football as the “any given Sunday” comment, well think of MMA as any given PPV.  Because….

  • Joe Lauzon beating Melvin Guillard in under a minute? Didn’t see that coming.
  • Chael Sonnen choking out Brian Stann? Didn’t see that coming.
  • Kenny Florian surviving 5 rounds with Jose Aldo in only his second featherweight fight? Didn’t see that coming.
  • Frankie Edgar winning a fight by TKO, not decision? Didn’t see that coming.

A great night of fights and I can’t complain.  As a fan there are cards I enjoy and can still walk away dissatisfied because “my fighters” didn’t win. Not this time.  I was pulling for Stann and Maynard in their respective fights and can’t complain because they were both beat soundly and with authority.

This card gave me a new respect for Edgar because he did more than “just survive” as I’ve often said he did in previous fights.  He took a beating and then knocked out a man who has never been defeated.  Now, I think it is a little premature for all the pound-for-pound talk with him.  Let’s see a few more wins by TKO and submission and I’ll start to tip my hat.

The takeaway for me for the evening was really the emphatic “welcome back” to Chael Sonnen.   Leading up to the fight, Sonnen was respectful toward his opponent – a novelty of late when it comes to his fight preparation.  My initial gut reaction told me he was preparing for ring rust and didn’t want Stann to pound him with too much aggression.

To my surprise, after 14 mos, I saw no ring rust and watched Sonnen FINALLY show me why Dana White pushed him toward Anderson Silva over a year ago.  This was more than a wrestler, this was a tactician who controlled the octagon with aggression and secured a slick submission.  Then it happened.

Then the Sonnen I remembered returned.  A WWE style “Loser goes home” match during Super Bowl weekend was shouted from the microphone.  Sonnen verbally attacked Silva with a 12 year old insult of “you suck!” followed by the challenge to leave the UFC forever if Silva could beat him. (He also noted that if Silva loses he would only have to leave the middleweight division. Interesting –I mean,  even Macho Man v. Ultimate Warrior had the loser retire altogether.)

As much as I may cry from the rooftops that MMA is not pro wrestling, there are many marketing benefits to playing Vince McMahon-style cards.  You get the audience you’re looking for (Males 18-30) and create a hype cycle that will have the UFC marketing team salivating.  I’m sure there are already trailers and posters being made.

Super Bowl weekend you may have more to look forward to than the crazy big budget commercials.  Will you tune in for Silva-Sonnen II?


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