Most mixed martial arts fans have probably seen the video or at lease read an article or two about the upcoming Light-Heavyweight title match getting started a little bit early. I have seen countless threads on forums stating how awful this is for the UFC and for MMA as a whole. I have seen and heard the words "barbaric" and "thuggish". I have also read about how this is just awful for the UFC's business. But you know what? I don't find this to be bad at all. In fact, I find it somewhat enlightening.
For years we have dealt with the fake rivalries. The ones you can really feel were manufactured just to draw in tickets. If you don't know what I am talking about, go back and watch any recent Chael Sonnen interview before his fights. It got people going for sure, but it didn't feel real. It didn't have that Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz feel to it. It didn't feel like Nick Diaz and Frank Shamrock did. It was just artificial. We have seen the little antics out of fighters at weigh ins and the run of the mill pre fight talk. But I can't remember the last time I felt like two guys that legitimately wanted to fight each other were stepping into the octagon together. It gives me chills even thinking about seeing them enter the arena.
But then on the other hand, we have this terrible for business speech others are talking about. When has this ever affected another sport on a large level. The most it has ever done is cause the regular forum goers to talk about how bad it was for business. When was it terrible for the NBA? We have seen countless fights take place. We have seen NBA players in the stands fighting fans. Players fighting players. Sure it isn't the most ideal situation, but they seem to have made out just fine. How many NFL fights have we seen? How many pre fight boxing fights? Nascar fights? Fighting is a part of sports, it happens. This sport just happens to only be about fighting. That is where I get lost. People see fights all the time when they aren't supposed to. But when two athletes who train to do nothing other than fight, in a fighting sport, scheduled to fight each other have a problem like this, people act as if it was so beyond anything imaginable.
All in all, this fight was shaping up to be interesting before the scuffle. Now I think it will be huge. The only thing this did for the UFC's business is make everyone a lot more interested. And the UFC is obviously on board. This fight can be seen on their youtube, facebook, twitter and instagram. If the business men are rolling with it, then maybe the fans should as well.
Did you know that between 2007 and 2011 the UFC Light-Heavyweight title changed 7 times. People that held the belt during this time include Chuck Liddell, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and then to the current champion Jon Jones.