By Lance Levan
Over the past 10+ years, the UFC has had a relatively easy time achieving their Pay-Per-View (PPV) ratings quotas because of the huge names that they have had fighting for their organization. Names like Randy “The Natural” Couture, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, Forrest Griffin, Georges St-Pierre, Ronda Rousey have become house-hold names. Even people that are not really MMA fans know of these fighters and the sport they partake in. But in the past few years, there has been a mass exodus of the “famous” fighters leaving the sport, either via retirement or due to injury.
There are still tons of fighters that are extremely talented and very entertaining to watch, but they are not the same type of “box office draw” as a fight between, say, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz…or Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. These guys just seemed to pack the house and boost the PPV numbers any time the UFC mentioned that they were going to fight.
Don’t get me wrong, the UFC still has a few names that are still considered main stream. Jon “Bones” Jones, Ronda Rousey, Cain Velasquez are all still very popular and lots of people (myself included) have no problem paying to see them fight. But other than a handful of names, the general population doesn’t know any of the new, up-and-coming fighters yet. And I am willing to bet that a ton of people are going to have problems forking out $49.95 to see a fight card with fighters that they’ve never heard of.
It will be very interesting to see how Dana White and the Fertitta brothers handle the promoting of fights over the next few years. A lot of people will be watching.