Monday, October 29, 2012

Jordan Breen breaks down the TUF: Jones

Sherdog's Jordan Breen is skeptical of using Jones vs Sonnen for TUF:
The fact that important fighters need to accept less-than-promised, less-than-desirable matchups because the UFC is desperate to save an antiquated, played-out concept is absurd. “TUF” can no longer produce a reasonable facsimile of UFC-calibre action or fighters, and the notion of a reality show on which people fight one another succeeding in North America seems so 2005. The vehicle still appears to have considerable upside in international markets, and that is undoubtedly the best way for the UFC to keep using it. Trying to use the show to recapture an audience that is numb to the notion and washed over with the sheer volume of fight content is backwards. The fact that the insistence on doing so still messes with entire divisions and the promotion’s key players is dismaying.
The real question is whether the payoff will validate all this in hindsight, if the juice will be worth the squeeze. The UFC has already alienated some of its own roster, as evidenced by fighter reactions to the bout on Twitter. Those who accept the matchup don’t seem excited by it but rather tolerate it as a necessary evil of Zuffa doing business. Based on Jones’ and Sonnen’s respective celebrity, media interest and the UFC doing the hard sell, this pay-per-view would have sold anyway. In that way, it seems like “TUF” is the only variable where Jones-Sonnen is really bringing something extra to the table. If Brock Lesnar wasn’t getting people to tune into “TUF,” what are the odds these two do?
Dave Meltzer though, thinks it's good for the sport:

Chael Sonnen? He's the most likely to understand his role on the show. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you're the guy having to make the decision between all these names who are available to start on Monday when it comes to picking up a declining television show, he's seems the best, and even, the obvious pick.
At that point, you have to do the fight. There are few coaching rivals in the history of TUF that after three months of television, people didn't want to see them fight.
Bad for the sport? If all fighters looked at this and thought, why is Chael Sonnen getting this shot and figured it out, nothing would be better for the sport. A promotion with 340 fighters who understands how the public reacts and 10 who don't is far superior to one with 10 who do and 340 who don't.
And at the end of the day, that's individual combat sports. Creating situations where the public wants to see two certain guys fight. Sometimes it's No. 1 and No. 2. It's easier when it is. But sometimes it isn't. Those with the right exposure who come closest to figuring out the public are the most successful. And when they are, the sport is successful. When they aren't good at figuring out the public, well, that's what's, in the long run, bad for the sport.
I think they're both right. Breen is correct in saying that the TUF model at least in North America is shot and Meltzer is also correct in saying that, if Zuffa and fox are gonna go with the existing show format. Sonnen vs Jones is, as least from a television standpoint, the best available option. It's especially hard to blame the UFC when you stop to consider that Jones wasn't even their first choice.

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