UFC vs PRIDE - how to manage both?

MMAPlayground.com » MMA General » UFC Forum » UFC vs PRIDE - how to manage both?
kontkikker
6/10/07 12:18:38AM
Ok, before I start - apologies for what's going to be a long post.

I want to start a discussion of what we - the fans - like about PRIDE FC and what we like about the UFC - to help give direction to Zuffa re:how they should take things from here to grow both promotions, now they've acquired PRIDE FC.

When Dana talked at the post-UFC71 press conference telling the world they're not sure how to do things and if they are not sure if they should unify the belts that makes me worry things might go the same way as the WWE (post Monday night war era, when they aquired WCW and ECW and kill that business).

This is just some thoughts from a fan, please feel free to add your thoughts to this and have a solid discussion on the future of MMA.


-------------------

OVERALL OBJECTIVE
* To help Zuffa build both promotions and to ensure both make money and both develop an international fan base.
* To avoid following the WWF/WWE example.


IN PRACTICE
(1) MANAGEMENT
* Both Promotions should be independently managed to ensure a level of competition which equals quality and fan experience (as opposed to WWF/WWE’s absorption of WCW & ECW which has greatly reduced the fan experience as opposed to the era of the Monday night wars).

(2) ROSTER MANAGEMENT;
* Don’t move all the talent of Pride and bring it to the UFC – manage this carefully. Both promotions should have equally strong rosters, in stead use mixed events to build both promotions over time.
* Retain separate recruitment for both promotion
* Once a year talent could move between promotions; when contracts expire.
* UFC has too many average American fighters, PRIDE has too many average Japanese fighters – both have limited strong rosters of international fighters.

(3) MANAGEMENT OF DIVISIONS:
* Standardize weight divisions between both promotions and reduce to 4 to keep it clear for fans and allow for great fights – Heavy Weight, Light Heavy Weight, Middle Weight, Light Weight
* Strongly build the three most popular weight classes in both promotions: Heavy Weight, Light Heavy Weight & Middle Weights.
* Move all Light & Welterweights to PRIDE – level of technique suits Japanese fan base better (Bushido Tournament Platform).
* Have titles for each weight class in both promotions – do not unify belts, but organize annual mixed tournaments to determine the best fighter in a weight class (following Pride tournament format).

(4) FIGHT CARDS / MATCH MAKING
* remains key – Pride is doing this better
* Pride PPV’s seem more value for money or value per minute – seem to have more fights in the same amount of time.
* UFC’s system of working with #1 contenders has a great disadvantage that it makes the next 3-5 UFC events extremely predictable. With each Pride event you’re waiting to see what fights they come up with, and it never disappoints. Occasionally the #1 contender would fight a new comer, which would allow for a great build up for new fighters.
* Don’t compromise quantity (# of PPV’s) for quality (fight card).
* Format innovation and less predictable cards,

(5) DIFFERENTIATION PRIDE vs UFC
Ensuring areas of differentiation of UFC vs PRIDE remain to exist allows each promotion to retain certain aspects that make it unique to keep things interesting for fans, to allow to see different fight strategies, and to make things less predictable.
* Ring vs Octagon
* UFC vs pride rules (10,5,5 minute rounds vs 3*5 & 5*5 minute rounds)
* PRIDE could be the only promotion with a light weight division (Japanese fans appreciate the technical matches more).
* Japanese rules allow for more areas of format innovation; for example tag Matches – old Japanese bushido style format (2 guys vs 2 guys, with a 20-0 point system, first team to end up with 0 points loses. Throw down -1pts, rope escape -3pts, tap-out/ko is instant loss.
* Special exhibition matches; K1 rules / Wearing Gi’s / Special rule matches (to keep things interesting – see different fight strategies applied).

(6) MATCH/SHOW APPEAL & FAN EXPERIENCE
* Get rid of poor commentators such as Frank Trigg and bring back Bas Rutten & Mauro or the Fight Professor for Pride.
* Build the behind the scenes shows – inside the UFC, all access, reality series (each promotion could have its own reality show), pre-PPV countdowns.
* Pride shows are more spectacular; large extravaganza’s with serious show Appeal; larger crows, fighter introductions at the start of the event, fireworks, special matches / super main events (butterbean vs zuluzinho, giant sylva, semmy schilts, Olympic wrestler vs Olympic judo, Brock Lesnar in another promotion)
* Pre-Fight Build-ups / History / Background during PPV’s can be build further (UFC is already good in this, Pride is not doing this well, both can still improve).
* Longer post fight interviews – Joe Rogan style (missing in Pride) alternatively do a preview of the next fight (fighter face-off; Rampage/Wanderlei style).
* UFC referees often stop fights too quickly – observe & learn from Japanese Pride referees – rarely are their decisions disputed.

(7) GLOBALIZE MMA AS A SPORT FURTHER
* bringing Japanese and US fans together through mixed PRIDE vs UFC events
* appeal to fans from other countries through local tv deals (PPV’s don’t work in Europe)
* appeal to fans from other countries through bringing in more international fight talent. (perhaps UFC could remain strongly US-centred, with Pride continuing to build its strong global roster)
* expand TV deals / TV shows; fight nights, shows etc to gain more exposure.


EVENT SCHEDULING - A SCENARIO OF WHAT THINGS MIGHT LOOK LIKE

(0) SCHEDULE
* 4-6 Pride PPV Events / Year
* 6-8 UFC PPV Events / Year
* 4-8-12 Mixed Pride/UFC PPV’s / Year
* we'll still have fight nights
* we'll still have reality shows

(1) PPV's (individual from each promotion)
* Exclusively have all title fights for each individual promotion.
* Are used to introduce new fighters to the audience / together with tv shows (fight nights)
* Can be used to hosts preliminary tournament qualifying matches
* Should never or rarely host inter-promotional matches – keep this exclusive to build fan anticipation. (WWE’s weekly shows now have main events that would use to be wrestlemania quality-cards – too much overkill and spoiling of fans).

(2) MIXED EVENTS
* Are centered around grand prix 16-men tournament format (based on Pride’s tournament format)
* Are used for all inter-promotional matches PRIDE vs UFC.
* Tournaments are based on most popular weight class; Bushido Platform, light Heavy Weight Tournament, Heavy Weight Tournament, Open Weight Tournament (if US rules allow) – thus allowing for up to 3-4 tournaments / year (=12-16PPV’s).
* Each promotion nominates 6 of its top fighters who automatically qualify for the tournament’s first round. In addition each promotion nominates 4 fighters that square off against each other in 4 UFC vs PRIDE Tournament qualifying matches. (4 fighters of the 8 advance to enter the tournament).
* Additional spots on the fight card are reserved for top cards
* The winner is that year’s best fighter
* Mixed Events could also host champion vs champion matches (ie a light heavyweight tournament finals could also host a main event of heavy weight champion vs champion).
* Each Tournament could fill up to 4 PPV’s / year
1. preliminary qualifiers
2. 16 man first round,
3. 8 men quarter finals,
4. semifinals+finals
* The tournament can be organized throughout 1 entire year, with 1 PPV / quarter and can be repeated each year.

(3) TV SHOWS
* Could be shorter duration, increased frequency
* Could be used to introduce new fighters
* Could be used to grow fan base


COULD YOU IMAGINE..

MIXED HEAVY WEIGHT TOURNAMENT

4 UFC Entrants
Randy Couture
Mirko CroCop
Nogueira
Brandon Vera

+ 4 UFC Qualifiers
Tim Sylvia
Andrei Arlovski
Cheick Kongo
Gabriel Gonzaga

4 PRIDE Entrants
Fedor Emilianenko
Mark Hunt
Mark Coleman
Josh Barnett

+ 4 PRIDE Qualifiers
Alexander Emilianenko
Fujita
Zuluzinho
Semmy Schilt/Bob Sapp


MIXED LIGHT HEAVY WEIGHT TOURNAMENT

4 UFC Entrants
Quinton Jackson
Chuck Liddell
Tito Ortiz
Michael Bisping

+ 4 UFC Qualifiers
Belfort
Sobral
Rashad Evans
Forrest Griffin

4 PRIDE Entrants
Dan Henderson
Vanderlei Silva
Mauricio Rua
Kharitonov

+ 4 PRIDE Qualifiers
Allistair Overeem
Nogueira
Arona
Yvel


WHAT A PPV YEAR MIGHT LOOK LIKE (wouldn’t include fight nights, reality shows etc)

JAN
- PRIDE PPV
- UFC PPV

FEB
- MIXED PPV - LHW Tournament - 1st Round

MAR
- PRIDE PPV Bushido LW Tournament - 1st Round
- UFC PPV

APR
- MIXED PPV - LHW Tournament - Quarter Finals

MAY
- PRIDE PPV Bushido LW Tournament Quarter Finals (+2 mixed qualifying matches for HW Tournament)
- UFC PPV (+2 mixed qualifying matches for HW Tournament)

JUN
- MIXED PPV - LHW Tournament - Semi Finals & Finals

JUL
- PRIDE PPV Bushido LW Tournament - Semi Finals & Finals
- UFC PPV

AUG
- MIXED PPV - HW Tournament 1st Round

SEP
- PRIDE PPV
- UFC PPV

OCT
- MIXED PPV - HW Tournament Quarter Finals

NOV
- PRIDE PPV (+2 mixed qualifying matches for LHW Tournament)
- UFC PPV (+2 mixed qualifying matches for LHW Tournament)

DEC
- MIXED PPV - HW Tournament Semi Finals & Finals




Any thoughts? If you have Dana or Frank's email - please forward


- kontkikker
kontkikker AT hotmail DOT com
xthe_scottx
6/10/07 12:51:46AM
First, why did you start two threads about this? I don't understand why people do this and I don't think they do either. Second, welcome to MMA playground. Third, it nice to see that you put effort into this post but PRIDE looks like it will be folded and I disagree with these points:

1) Move all Light & Welterweights to PRIDE – level of technique suits Japanese fan base better (Bushido Tournament Platform)- Bad idea IMO because that greatly reduces amount of LW's that get to fight at the top level.

2) UFC’s system of working with #1 contenders has a great disadvantage that it makes the next 3-5 UFC events extremely predictable. With each Pride event you’re waiting to see what fights they come up with, and it never disappoints. Occasionally the #1 contender would fight a new comer, which would allow for a great build up for new fighters- I disagree with everything about this. The top fighters should always be fighting the top fighters and new-comers (I'm sorry to say this) should have to work their way up. Also, in MMA, nothing if anything is very predictable.

3) Pride shows are more spectacular; large extravaganza’s with serious show Appeal; larger crows, fighter introductions at the start of the event, fireworks, special matches / super main events (butterbean vs zuluzinho, giant sylva, semmy schilts, Olympic wrestler vs Olympic judo, Brock Lesnar in another promotion)- This is a sport and I want to see the competition not fireworks and longer fighter intros. Also, I have always hated the "freak show" matches and feel that not only are they pointless since their is a lack of competition and the only thing that makes these fighters any good is their size. Judo Olympians in the UFC would be something I would love to see though.

4) I personally don't like the schedule you set for PPV's. I would rather see each organization have monthly PPV"s, monthly Fight Nights and each have a tournament every year (fighters from both organization could compete in either promotions tournament) and the last event of the year is the PRIDE title holders vs the UFC title holders with a few other cross promotional fights.

Other than these four things and a few other minor things that I thought weren't significant enough to mention, I would agree with you as long as PRIDE remains and remains as a top tier organization with fighters that can rival the best from the UFC.
kontkikker
6/10/07 1:37:05AM
great comments - thanks

re: (1) lw's to pride -- just think most american fans dont seem to appreciate technique that much --> assuming we would keep PRIDE and build it to top level I think it would benefit competition cause you would have all strong guys in one promotion.

re: (2) true that you have to earn your spot my only issue is that we pretty much know the cards for the next 3-5 events for the UFC using this system; Serra vs Hughes, Hughes vs GSP (3), Couture vs Bronzaga, Couture vs CroCop, etc etc.

re: (3) guess this reflects my (long past) likes of what used to be WWF - I do feel though that a bit of a show helps to broaden the appeal and commercialize the sport - it also will help to bring in fans that used to like wrestling untill they started to introduce worm eaters, chinese cowboys and ceo champions.

re: (4) good point
Playground_Samurai
6/10/07 1:49:36AM
Very detailed post. You have a lot of great ideas and I agree with most of them.

However, one thing I do not agree with is sending all of the LW's and WW's over to Pride. I believe they should keep the weight classes the exact same as they have always been in both orginizations. These types of differences keep things interesting IMO. I wouldn't wanna see all of the fighters in those two weight divisions fighting strictly in a ring. There are some things i like about a cage better, just as I like some things about the ring better. That being said, I would still like to see fighters from both orgs cross over and show their skills on the alternate platform.

I agree that both promotions should be independently run and have equally strong rosters. Providing both orginizations with the same exact amount of cash to work with would ensure equality. Perhaps some form of a salary cap?

Your best idea is the mixed events. I've always liked the old argument of which orginization is better between UFC and Pride. The only thing is i'd only have two mixed events a year in order to keep things fresh and exciting. One event in a ring and the other in a cage bringing the best from both orgs twice a year. Keeping a rivalry between the two keeps things interesting or, intriguing. I was happy when Dana said there was gonna be a "super bowl" of mma every year. No doubt it would always make for a very strong build up, and I personally would be going crazy with anticipation for this type of setup.

Either way, I don't see things going down like this. I think Dana has made it pretty clear that UFC will be acquiring all the top talent. It's already started and I don't see it stopping until they have everyone.

Nicely formatted post.



kontkikker
6/10/07 2:00:31AM
yah i'm very afraid that it's going to be the end of PRIDE..

let's hope they do what's best for MMA not what's best for the UFC in the short term, in parallel with the WWE after acquiring WCW and ECW there will always be new competition (TNA) which will get stronger over time, I just think that if they build up both organizations they will cash out big time in the long run, because they grow the entire sport rather than just one promotion in the US. In return this would bring them international sponsorhip & tv deals and that is a scale that will sky rocket them I think.

BTW: interesting point about equal budgets to work with
cmill21
6/10/07 4:52:13AM
I honestly believe if the UFC does away with the cage it will bring the sport into a different view of the public audience. Anytime I talk to my dad about UFC he just says "they lock two guys up in a cage and don't let them out until one guy gets his ass kicked bad enough for the other giant guy in the cage to stop it". This is a man who is a member of the RCMP, loves rings(RCMP fighting competition), and is a fan of boxing. Some people just see that there in a cage like animals. Another thing I like about PRIDE is the entrances, theres nothing I enjoyed more (besides the fights) then seeing Mirko rise up on a platform then take that looong walk down the ramp to meet Fedor in the ring (If I could pick on event to be at in the entire history of sport I would pick that fight). PRIDE as much as I hate to say it has had it's last good fights, everyone will leave for the UFC or now that i've seen how much K-1 pays maybe them.
Manfred
6/10/07 6:43:28AM

Posted by xthe_scottx
Third, it nice to see that you put effort into this post but PRIDE looks like it will be folded and I disagree with these points:



Josh Gross said based on what he's hearing, he thinks there will NEVER be another PRIDE show, period.

Wouldn't be surprised at all.
kontkikker
6/10/07 9:35:45AM
that would be very bad news..

would at least hope they do this years tournament
Manfred
6/10/07 1:45:31PM
Me too. My origional hope was separately run orgs (as promised) with one mega-PPV "Super Bowl" at the end of the year:

UFC Champ vs. PRIDE Champ &
#1 contender vs. #1 contentender

in every weight class.

That's monster 10 fights (assuming they align weights to US standards)

Now that's an MMA Super Bowl
Mayo
6/10/07 6:14:11PM
I'm willing to bet Pride is finished and we will never see any kind of event with the Pride name on it.

The fact that Henderson has entered the UFC proves this fact. He holds two Pride belts. So then what, he beats Rampage and gets a UFC belt as well. Hell no, he'll be required to trade in his Pride belt for the UFC belt after the win. Then the Pride belt will be thrown into the incinerator.
tomp6581
6/11/07 6:04:34AM

Posted by Manfred

Me too. My origional hope was separately run orgs (as promised) with one mega-PPV "Super Bowl" at the end of the year:

UFC Champ vs. PRIDE Champ &
#1 contender vs. #1 contentender

in every weight class.

That's monster 10 fights (assuming they align weights to US standards)

Now that's an MMA Super Bowl



I agree that it really is THAT simple.
Related Topics