The UFC may be the number one MMA organization in the world but it has a serious problem. The UFC continue to fail to sign super fights. Now that Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones have signed their next fights the door on the elusive super fight has officially closed for 2013.
[adinserter block=”1″]Dana White has accomplished more as UFC president than anyone could have ever predicted. Dana along with the Fertittas have grown the UFC to what some call a billion dollar company. Dana’s legacy will be full of success but the one failure that continues to be his Achilles heel is his inability to sign super fights. Unfortunately for him and more importantly MMA fans, another year will pass in which he and the UFC have failed to seal the deal.
UFC Tonight broke the news this week that the UFC have targeted Georges St-Pierre vs. Johnny Hendricks for UFC 167. The November fight will headline the UFC’s unofficial 20th anniversary show in Las Vegas. Hey don’t get me wrong, I am pumped for the fight. Yet at the end of the day what that fight announcement really means is that there will be no GSP vs. Silva fight in 2013.
But wait what about Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva? I have always felt that a Jones vs. Silva mega fight made more sense than GSP vs. Silva for the simple reason that Silva has fought at 205 before. Well just last week it was reported that Jon Jones will headline UFC 165 in September with a title defense against Alexander Gustafsson. Once again it was another door shut on the UFC’s other mega fight for 2013 with Jones now done for the year.
Not getting the two super fights wouldn’t be a problem if they were never dangled in front of us by the UFC president. Dana White has not only teased those fights for 2013 but outright promised that he would make one of them a few months back. When reporters brought up his failures in the past to sign these fights he simply blew those concerns off by basically saying he’d pay the money to get the fight done.
Well here we are on June 19 and neither fight is signed, nor will they happen in 2013.
I blogged a few months ago that Dana White’s legacy rests on making one of these fights. I was criticized for overlooking all of White’s great accomplishments as UFC president and I completely understand that. But at the end of the day he is a promoter and if he can’t sign the biggest money fights between fighters under a UFC contract than I think he has failed miserably as a promoter. For every million dollars he has made for Zuffa he is leaving a lot of those millions on the table by failing to close the deal.
Other than BJ Penn, White has been unable to convince any of his star fighters to take these bouts outside of their divisions. Why is that? I have heard rumors that Anderson Silva and Jon Jones are asking for $10 million and again these are only rumors and while that may sound crazy to some I think it is completely reasonable. Are these fights being held up simply due to money?
The UFC has come under a little bit of fire lately for its payment structure to fighters. The UFC can easily pay these fighters the rumored $10 million or whatever else it is they are looking for. However, I have to wonder if the UFC are more worried about fighters after these fights asking for more money and these big purses raising the budget? Why else would the UFC not be able to make these fights?
The UFC is playing with some major fire here. There is a very good chance that Jones, Silva, or GSP will lose their next fight. All three have very tough challenges ahead of them. Failing to close the deal on one of these fights in 2013 may wind up leaving millions and millions of dollars on the table that the UFC will never recover.
[adinserter block=”2″]The fighters are playing it perfectly. Jon Jones is saying maybe but he is interested in fighting at heavyweight. Anderson Silva is saying he’d fight either one. Georges St-Pierre isn’t interested in moving up yet has leaks from his camp almost monthly saying otherwise. Intentional or not these are brilliant negotiating tactics from all of these fighters. Dana only helps them when he guarantees that these fights will happen and only looks like a failure when they don’t.
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[amazon_link id=”1936608979″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Anderson Silva – MMA Instruction Manual[/amazon_link]