Opinion: Zuffa Treating Fans to the UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz
By Jesse Heitz
The past few months, as I’ve droned on and on about, have been forgetful at best for Zuffa. It’s string of cancelled and subpar UFC and Strikeforce cards have placed the MMA giant in a position it hasn’t been in for quite some time. It’s been quite some time since Zuffa had to truly do something for both its fans and its bottom line.
I had raged on and on about how the UFC has essentially slapped its fans right in the face by: being unable to save several events that wound up being cancelled, by over-charging for a poor card in events like UFC 153, for failing to develop any of the superfights that fight fans have been dying to see. Now, Zuffa and the UFC have certainly done something to get back into the good graces of not only this writer, but of MMA fans around the globe.
The UFC has dazzled even the most jaded with its offering of the UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz card, for free, and as the name of the card implies on FOX. While the card isn’t due to be held until December 8th, it’s sure to quite a card, that is of course if it can steer clear of the injury bug that has plagued so many of the recent Zuffa events.
The UFC on FOX card features a main event between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz for the UFC Lightweight Championship. The main card also features the long-awaited bout between B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald, which had been originally intended for UFC 152, but was scratched after MacDonald received a cut in training and withdrew from the fight. The card also features Mauricio “Shogun” Rua taking on rising light heavyweight scrapper Alexander Gustafsson, as well as Mike “Quick” Swick taking on Matt Brown.
The UFC has really treated its fans with this card, and rightfully so. MMA fans have put untold sums of money into UFC coffers for what can only be described as cards that are significantly less than top-notch. I have written at length about the ridiculousness of charging loyal fans nearly $50 for cards such as UFC 153 in particular, and I would even go farther by placing the last-minute hodge-podge that was UFC 152 into that very same category.
While I think it would make more sense to air the UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz (with a name change of course) card on pay-per-view and conversely air a poor card such as UFC 153 as the free event on television, I’m certainly not going to complain about being able to watch the UFC on FOX card for free. This could be just the ticket that Zuffa needs to start 2013 on a solid footing, recapturing the fan base.