Opinion: UFC’s Superbowl Weekend Card Is A Monster
By Jesse Heitz
The UFC has great things planned for the month of February. Things so great, that it may even be worth the outrageous asking price of modern pay-per-views in order to catch a glimpse of what the fabled promotion has in store for its fans. As it stands, and barring the return of this past season’s injury bug, UFC 156, to be held on Super Bowl weekend in February, is looking to be one of the most “stacked” cards in quite some time.
UFC 156 is set to feature a Featherweight Championship bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. It will also feature Dan Henderson’s return to action against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. The card will also treat fans to not only the return of Alistair Overeem, but a true battle of the giants when he steps into the Octagon with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
With these three great matchups one would expect that the UFC has exhausted its roster, that it must save something for later events. Nope, the final “big” fight for this card, as has yet to be announced, is between Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans and the always tough Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. From the looks of it, this is not a card to be missed, although time will tell if the lineup remains the same, or if UFC 151-esque troubles befall it.
I find this card to be particularly interesting, for reasons entirely different from its star-studded lineup, to be perfectly honest, a card such as this is owed to the UFC’s loyal fans who have remained faithful while Zuffa fed them watered-down TV caliber events at princely prices. No, this card interests me due to when it’s scheduled to take place, during the most holy of American sports weekends, Super Bowl weekend.
This effort surely must be interpreted only as a means for Zuffa to capture the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of sports dollars up for grabs that weekend, but also a way in which for the UFC to thrust its product, the sport of MMA, into the mainstream. The goal to the main artery of the American sports enthusiast, to get him or her thinking that the spectacle and competition of football is great, but perhaps this sport once called “human cockfighting” might actually be highly enjoyable as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the UFC is a business, and that its leadership, while certainly MMA aficionados at the personal level, aren’t seeking to inject MMA into the mainstream on Super Bowl weekend for merely the validation of the sport alone, but rather to earn money. Yet, it’s a hand-in-hand relationship. With validation and legitimization, comes a larger audience and fan base, and naturally, with that flows increased revenues and profits.
The UFC has a clever plan, a plan that can start its Fiscal Year 2013 off with a bang. Let’s just hope that the American public can briefly turn from throwing Super Bowl parties, and throw a few MMA parties that weekend too.