UFC vs PRIDE - how to manage both?

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kontkikker
6/10/07 12:20:34AM
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.


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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
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