The year is coming to a close and the holidays are set upon us. Before the fat man can break into your house and leave gifts in front of the sofa, it is time to give thanks. Reflect back and think of things you are thankful for throughout the year; a new car? new girlfriend? discovered MMA Valor? Whatever you are thankful for, be sure to recognize how awesome MMA is and what a big year 2011 has been for the sport.
Here are five things every MMA fan should be thankful for (in no particular order):
Called out by other promotions as a monopoly, Zuffa laughed and extended their ownership of MMA in the spring of 2011 with the purchase of Strikeforce. Promised from Dana White that they would conduct “business as usual” and keep the companies separate, this lasted momentarily with Strikeforce champions vacating their titles for UFC contracts (Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson) and others left on the roster slowly moving over to the big show. The deal soured some fans at the beginning but after watching two classic fights with Diaz-Penn (UFC 137) and the uber epic Shogun-Hendo (UFC 139) this buy out is the best thing that could have happened for the fighters and fans.
Let’s also not forget the equally promising is the end of the year war between former UFC champion Brock Lesnar and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Bellator may not be the biggest promotion on the block but their continued ability to deliver exciting fights with veteran competitors plus some of the rising stars of the sport; they have a solid fan base which is always growing. They have all of their bouts broadcast on MTV2, which is better than having to shell out PPV fees for bouts like Alvarez-Chandler (regarded as fight of the year) and starting in 2013, will switch their programming over to Spike. Rumors of their own reality program have started to fly around and in a market like this, could be the best thing for their venue to compete with the UFC.
The biggest MMA promotion landing a network television deal with broadcasting set up over basic and premium channels for multiple years is huge. Taking time for the right deal to come along was the battle for Zuffa but good things come to those who wait. Everyone involved with UFC on FOX 1 delivered in their bouts and their next event (Jan 28, 2012) will be just as big. There will be wrinkles to iron out and Zuffa always gets better, learning from mistakes. Any fan, old or new should be thankful for free, quality fights and not complain about outcome or bout length.
UFC GOING GLOBAL
Settling in Canada,Ireland,London,Germany and Australia are huge venues for Zuffa but UFC 134 was significant in so many ways. Serving as a type of “homecoming”Rio de Janeiro,Brazilsaw the comeback of Minotauro Nougeira, Shogun and the continued dominance of Anderson Silva. Plans are in motion to establish TUF Brazil and continue to see the natural talent flourish from the birthplace of modern jiu jitsu. Aside from the aforementioned locations, UFC will host their first event in years inJapanthis February; desired by many for classic UFC-PRIDE matches to occur in the Saitama Super Arena, we will need to wait and see what Joe Silva his in store for all of us.
We would not have this site and others like it if it wasn’t for Zuffa. Originally founded by Art Davie (who has gone on to give the world…XARM) the promotion known as UFC was salvaged by three childhood friends and re-shaped into what they saw as the next big thing. Hundreds of fights and millions of dollars later in merchandising, ticket sales, PPV buys and sponsorships they are living the dream. MMA has become widely the new martial art, as many traditional schools have seen their memberships grow. Multiples “gyms” or “academies” are springing up with wall mats and cages to help you become the next ultimate fighter. There will be a few who only participate to be baddest on the block but as long as loyal, educated fans promote this sport in a responsible way, it will continue to grow like it has done so well this past year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and have an enjoyable day with those who you are thankful for the most!