Where Are the Stars? As UFC Main Eventers Age, No Replacements in Sight

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emfleek
9/28/10 1:38:56PM
The UFC has a problem. That in itself seems unbelievable. In the middle of an unprecedented run of success, the promotion seems like it can do no wrong. No mere mortal can stop the Zuffa juggernaut. Affliction, Pride, the IFL - they've all fallen victim to the UFC's superior promotion, talent, and presentation. But father time? There's no stopping him.

The UFC's top stars are old. There's no getting around it. Randy Couture is 47. Chuck Liddell just hit the big four oh. Anderson Silva is 35. Brock Lesnar is 33. Rampage is 32. BJ Penn is an ancient 31. Forrest Griffin is as well. Even Georges St. Pierre sees 30 creeping up on him.

These are the UFC's biggest stars, the guys who draw the big money on PPV. All but Forrest get a percentage of the pay per views they appear on. These men are the difference between a show drawing a basement level number and drawing a million or more buys. They are also men in desperate need of replacements.

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AchillesHeel
9/28/10 2:32:17PM
I think it might be too early to write off Frank Edgar and Shogun as draws. They're both about to turn 29.

I would also put Junior Dos Santos and Evan Dunham on the same list with Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and Phil Davis. George Sotiropoulos could become a star too, even though he's already 33, and one guy who isn't in the UFC - yet; Eddie Alvarez, who's only 25.
emfleek
9/28/10 2:40:20PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

I think it might be too early to write off Frank Edgar and Shogun as draws. They're both about to turn 29.

I would also put Junior Dos Santos and Evan Dunham on the same list with Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and Phil Davis. George Sotiropoulos could become a star too, even though he's already 33, and one guy who isn't in the UFC - yet; Eddie Alvarez, who's only 25.



I also think Ryan Bader has a shot at being a draw. Big(ger)/built guy. Heavy hands. Good wrestling. Catchy nickname.
gartface
9/28/10 2:45:22PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by AchillesHeel

I think it might be too early to write off Frank Edgar and Shogun as draws. They're both about to turn 29.

I would also put Junior Dos Santos and Evan Dunham on the same list with Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and Phil Davis. George Sotiropoulos could become a star too, even though he's already 33, and one guy who isn't in the UFC - yet; Eddie Alvarez, who's only 25.



I also think Ryan Bader has a shot at being a draw. Big(ger)/built guy. Heavy hands. Good wrestling. Catchy nickname.


Also I think the age of Brock Lesnar is a little inflated, due to him being relatively green to MMA. All of those suggestions are all good draws in my opinion. I'd love to see Eddie Alvarez join the UFC as well as Gegard Mousasi.
grappler0000
9/28/10 5:38:16PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

I think it might be too early to write off Frank Edgar and Shogun as draws. They're both about to turn 29.

I would also put Junior Dos Santos and Evan Dunham on the same list with Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and Phil Davis. George Sotiropoulos could become a star too, even though he's already 33, and one guy who isn't in the UFC - yet; Eddie Alvarez, who's only 25.



I agree...they just need to flip the marketing switch on a handful of guys to start the transition. I'd also like to add that they missed Rashad and Lyoto already being pretty solid draws. And if it were to get really bad, Zuffa has the pockets to pluck nearly any fighter they want from another organization. Not a whole lot to worry about...the author seems to dwell on worst case scenario.
aristipe
9/28/10 10:46:41PM
Unlike pro wrestling, creating big stars in MMA is actually very simple. If the young guys beat up the old generation, then they will become superstars. But if the current superstars only fight each other, having legends fights, and then retiring, the young guys will miss something that will take years to build up. As Ric Flair would say, to be the man, you have to BEAT the man!
seanfu
9/28/10 11:18:14PM
This is dumb, there will always be stars built. Rampage became a star after 2 fights, do you really think many of th people who watched th UFC at that time really knew who he was or ever watched pride? No.

Frankie is a breakout star. There will always be. It is dumb to say their stars will dry up with no replacements. Hell BJ wasn't even really a star till he was on TUF and he had a history with the UFC.
bjj1605
9/29/10 12:53:48AM

Posted by seanfu

This is dumb, there will always be stars built. Rampage became a star after 2 fights, do you really think many of th people who watched th UFC at that time really knew who he was or ever watched pride? No.

Frankie is a breakout star. There will always be. It is dumb to say their stars will dry up with no replacements. Hell BJ wasn't even really a star till he was on TUF and he had a history with the UFC.



this. There's no credibility to this argument. Stars come and go very quickly in MMA.
Aether
9/29/10 3:30:09AM
Like everyone has already said, new stars will always appear to replace the ones on their way out. Plenty of new guys like Jon Jones and Dos Santos who have already been mentioned have the potential for massive drawing power as they move up the ladder.

I also think that Shogun would be a massive draw if he could string 2 fights together without injuring himself. As it is casual fans have only really seen him fight at top form once or twice in really short fights. If he gets into the ring and performs at 100% without injury for even a few fights his popularity will absolutely skyrocket. His fights are always brutal.
RearNakedJoke
9/29/10 3:56:15AM
the UFC is full of young marketable up and comers. Junior Dos Santos, cain velasquez, Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub, johny hendriks, Dan hardy, John Jones, Nate Diaz, the list goes on. their is NO shortage of young stars who will carry this sport when the current stars move on.

Aether
9/29/10 4:03:02AM

Posted by RearNakedJoke

the UFC is full of young marketable up and comers. Junior Dos Santos, cain velasquez, Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub, johny hendriks, Dan hardy, John Jones, Nate Diaz, the list goes on. their is NO shortage of young stars who will carry this sport when the current stars move on.




I was 100% sure that your avatar was a picture of a naked ass until I looked in your profile lol.
BlueSkiesBurn
9/29/10 4:37:25AM

Posted by grappler0000

I'd also like to add that they missed Rashad and Lyoto already being pretty solid draws.



If they are counting 30 as older Machida is 32 and Rashad is 31. After the Rampage fight, depending on what happens, Machida could be close to 33 or already 33 before he fights again. Rashad just turned 31, though.
jjeans
9/29/10 8:40:00AM
Jon Jones is 23
Charles Oliveira is 20

Yeah i will admit at this moment in time there not main eventers, but as mentioned stars come and go

Remember Todd Duffee?
prozacnation1978
9/29/10 10:14:00AM
ufc will be fine stars will be discovered and some talent will be signed
but i do see your point at some point gsp and silva will get caught up just like penn did this year there time will eventually be over
AchillesHeel
9/29/10 10:25:49AM

Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

If they are counting 30 as older[...]


Right, I don't buy that premise either, now that you mention it. And not just because I'm well over 30 myself.

The more I think about it, the more author of the article comes across as the worst kind of blogger: Making up a problem that doesn't exist just so he has something to write about, in lieu of any actual information or insight. Back in the day, this was called "Yellow Journalism" [<- SFW Wikipedia link], but we can't really use that term here because this isn't journalism of any kind. (There's no prohibition against blogger-bashing here, is there? )
BlueSkiesBurn
9/29/10 10:48:46AM

Posted by AchillesHeel


Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

If they are counting 30 as older[...]


Right, I don't buy that premise either, now that you mention it. And not just because I'm well over 30 myself.

The more I think about it, the more author of the article comes across as the worst kind of blogger: Making up a problem that doesn't exist just so he has something to write about, in lieu of any actual information or insight. Back in the day, this was called "Yellow Journalism" [<- SFW Wikipedia link], but we can't really use that term here because this isn't journalism of any kind. (There's no prohibition against blogger-bashing here, is there? )



I completely agree with you. I'm 28, but that's neither here nor there.

Your premise is absolutely right. This has all the makings of a very weak "worst case scenario" argument."

I only mentioned the 30+ part because that seemed to be *HIS* theme. Aside from few exceptions (in the grand scheme of things), many athletes don't even hit their primes until they reach around 30.

Kobe (as much as I hate him) seems to be getting better with age.

Jordan won his first title at 28 and those weren't even his best years.

Favre was 28 the year he won his first.

You see my point.
BustedKnuckle
9/29/10 6:12:16PM
No replacements in sight!!??!?!?!? Does this writer even watch MMA!!?? Right off the top of my head i can come up with a half dozen guys thyat are a big draw that they dont see. And about 15 that could be a champion in a few yrs!!??
grappler0000
9/30/10 11:48:47PM

Posted by BlueSkiesBurn


Posted by grappler0000

I'd also like to add that they missed Rashad and Lyoto already being pretty solid draws.



If they are counting 30 as older Machida is 32 and Rashad is 31. After the Rampage fight, depending on what happens, Machida could be close to 33 or already 33 before he fights again. Rashad just turned 31, though.



I was actually lumping them in with the aging stars. The author didn't feel they needed to be mentioned though...or he's just not aware that they sell tickets.
BlueSkiesBurn
10/1/10 6:26:05PM

Posted by grappler0000


Posted by BlueSkiesBurn


Posted by grappler0000

I'd also like to add that they missed Rashad and Lyoto already being pretty solid draws.



If they are counting 30 as older Machida is 32 and Rashad is 31. After the Rampage fight, depending on what happens, Machida could be close to 33 or already 33 before he fights again. Rashad just turned 31, though.



I was actually lumping them in with the aging stars. The author didn't feel they needed to be mentioned though...or he's just not aware that they sell tickets.



Ah, gotcha. Misunderstanding.
Gogoplatapus
10/1/10 7:25:42PM
Another throw-away article from those haters over at Bloody Elbow. Snowden and Kid Nate are the worst. They seemingly always have an anti-ufc agenda and head scratching articles. To me, they have that 'like the sound of their own voice' feel.
Rush
10/3/10 10:31:04PM

But they haven't been succesful in building the next big thing.



Is it really the UFC's job to build a star? Last time I check this wasn't the pop music industry.



You have the next Chuck Liddell and not the next Frankie Edgar - a great fighter who couldn't draw 5000 people on the power of his name to any arena in the world.



Something the author misses here is the reason why Liddell was a star and Edgar is not. People liked watching Liddell KO guys, they don't enjoy a guy who nearly wins all his fights by decision.

Also, fans are attracted to persona. Edgar just doesn't seem to have anything special that would attract a certain type of fan (for example the way a Diaz, Rampage, Randy, etc. would)

Also, big stars in combat sports tend to be skewed more toward the heavier athletes and tend to be champions. When you have a stock of fighters that have reigned as champs as long as the Silva's, GSPs, etc. It is hard for the average fan to look past that.




Silva and Penn may have peaked athletically and a steep decline seems possible



This statement alone deserves this quote that I love.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Soren Kierkegaard



I for one have no concern for the putative lack of big names. Why? Because fans in MMA are fickle enough to move on when their fave fighters are done. The "problem" is, many haven't moved on because some of the big names in MMA are still hanging around. As soon as they retire it forces many of the fans to find a new star(s) or quit watching the sport, the latter which I doubt will happen.
billfold9
10/4/10 12:20:46AM
in 10 years people we havent heard of yet will b d stars,did we here any of these guys 10 years ago? NO. but now thier d stars. like the big draws will b John The Joker Johnson and Paul The Hillbilly Kang or Jordan DoubleHit Jordan and Melvin The MonsterBeast Benson,the point is u dont know them yet but thell build up fame by then and b just as big as hits as GSP,Spider and Brock.
fonduktoe
10/7/10 11:14:22PM

Posted by Aether


Posted by RearNakedJoke

the UFC is full of young marketable up and comers. Junior Dos Santos, cain velasquez, Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub, johny hendriks, Dan hardy, John Jones, Nate Diaz, the list goes on. their is NO shortage of young stars who will carry this sport when the current stars move on.




I was 100% sure that your avatar was a picture of a naked ass until I looked in your profile lol.

wow i almost masturbated to a swollen eye...weird
jawbreaker517
10/12/10 2:13:56PM
I don't see total truth in this topic. You DO, in fact, have good, young talent coming up(Hathaway and Jon Jones to name 2). The Ultimate Fighter is the answer to this problem. Roughly, it seems that about half of the shows competitors become well-known from each season. And with MMA being the fastest-growing sport, you can be almost positive that more stars will come to a head in the future.
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