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Five promotions could be gone in 18 months

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MMAcca

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What a depressing headline for an article this is. Sadly, the headline reflects the current situation that the MMA business is in right now.

Think about the climate of the industry at the start of the year and what the climate looks right now, nine months after the first of the year. There are five — count them — five promotions that could go belly-up in the timespan of 18 months. Elite XC, DREAM, Pancrase, Sengoku, and Affliction. The IFL is already finished, and more layoffs in the MMA industry amongst various promotions are expected to take place shortly. These trends indicate that the bottom is about to fall out of the business and that we will be stuck in 2009 with a top-heavy industry, much in a similar vein to professional wrestling.

There has been talk, since his release from jail, that convicted felon Kazuyoshi Ishii is trying to either consolidate or buy out the two smaller players in MMA (Sengoku and Pancrase). Ed Fishman was once approached about investing money into Pancrase, but the company reportedly had 7-figures in debt. The rumors at this time claim that World Victory Road, the parent company of Sengoku, has bought a stake or a controlling interest in Pancrase. If so, Pancrase will basically become a feeding system for Sengoku. However, Sengoku looks to be a money-losing proposition itself and it may get swallowed whole by K-1 if Ishii perceives that there is some value to consolidation in the business. All of this could be taking place while DREAM is on its last legs. I’ve long predicted that once Ishii got out of jail that DREAM would be finished and that K-1’s Godfather would create a new MMA project in 2009.



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Post #1   9/2/08 1:36:16AM   

Jshep714

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It is very sad if you are a MMA fan, but a good thing if you are an UFC fan and a fan of no other promotions as Zuffa would gladly take a bunch of these guys of the market.

Post #2   9/2/08 1:39:39AM   

Twenty20Dollars

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Man I dont get how DREAM is doing so bad when they are putting good cards.

Post #3   9/2/08 1:41:25AM   

jiujitsufreak74

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i think Dream and Sengoku will be able to stay afloat, as far as the other 3 i'm not so sure...in fact Pancrase isn't even important anymore so i already consider them on the way out, Affliction is spending way too much money and they only got 80,000 buys, and Elite XC is shooting itself in the foot constantly.

Post #4   9/2/08 1:41:57AM   

Greene33

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That is a shame really, but what can you do? You have to sign the big talent to compete with the UFC, you have to pay the big talent to sign them. Then you have to make sure people actually watch your PPV, it just seems that alot of people want to stick with the UFC and the UFC only, which in the long run will be bad for the fans and MMA as a whole. Hopefully people like Mark Cuban are in this for the long haul and can take the time to build up a fanbase for one of these org's.

As for Japanese MMA i really hope that DREAM can stay alive to put on a few more shows, i have never really liked K1's Hero's brand and would prefer DREAM to stay independent.

Post #5   9/2/08 1:44:09AM   

Twenty20Dollars

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maybe they should combine into one org.

DrengoflictionXC

Post #6   9/2/08 1:45:24AM   

xAcidburNx

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i really hope dream and affliction dont bottom out. i really enjoy watching both there shows. i could care less about elite xc and sengoku

Post #7   9/2/08 2:20:13AM   

Aether

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I don't know... It's not that sad if you look at the overall picture. Even if the Japanese orgs go down MMA will never die in that part of the world. PRIDE died and look at how quickly other orgs with basically identical structure, fight rosters, and production came up. I'm sure there will be a new promotion almost immediately if any of the Japanese orgs go down.

Let's face it... No one is going to miss EliteXC. I support MMA as much as possible but I couldn't be bothered to pay for EliteXC. I only watch it when it's free on tv. When EXC folds the decent fighters will find new homes and we won't have to see any more of kimbo beating the oldest fighters in the sport. I think the UFC would actually pick him up despite the things Dana has said. Money is money. At least he wouldn't be fighting dinosaurs anymore.

We'll have to see about Affliction. I don't think their next card is going to do very well at all.

Post #8   9/2/08 3:03:25AM   

wapttn

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its funny because a lot of true mma fans are weary of the ufc having full control over the mma market... and theres definately some justified concerns. Most casual mma fans are not infact mma fans, but ufc fans. Regardless of how you see yourself, i think that there is one thing that unifies fans, and thats seeing the best fight the best in the hopes of amazing and memorable matches.

With that said comes the question of how to make that happen. Mma has required a very unique perspective to get it to where it is today... its been treated as a business first and a sport second, like many of the great products that we have today, would we be enjoying them if they werent marketed properly, distributed well, or if the company manufacturing the product was run poorly? How many mma fans became mma fans after zuffa bought the ufc? The answer to that is probably the majority of users on these forums, let alone more than 90% of ppv buys each event.

Am i a ufc nut hugger? sometimes... when respect is due, but i'm just as quick to question their decisions or criticize them when i feel that they've done things for the wrong reasons, or are putting the company before the sport when the sport should've come first. The point is that the ufc is owned by 3 people who are incredibly passionate and dedicated to the healthy growth of this sport. Its true that the exclusive contracts have created some problems.. one of the main reaons why the p4p no1 and no1 heavyweight in the world still fights outside the cage. But could the ufc have gotten to this point via non exclusive contracts? Other organizations have offered these non exclusive contracts.. but how many have lasted long enough to turn a profit, let alone create a solid fan base? Its easy to bitch and moan because we didnt get to see fedor vs randy at its prime, or because we cant see gomi fight top competition, but without the ufc, would we have seen bonnar vs griffin? would we have seen chuck vs silva? would we be getting nog vs mir? or penn vs gsp in their beginnings and now at their prime? Maybe... or maybe mma would still be an underground sport with Keith Hackney junking everyone into submission. The team running the ufc right now should be given a certain amount of respect and credit for their vision dedication and accomplishments.

As the smaller promotions go down and more and more of the talent belongs to the ufc, the pressure on the ufc to hold on tightly to its fighters will slowly go away. With that pressure gone, fighters more lenient contracts will emerge. As the sport and ufc grows the revenue will catch up with the hype, and with the revenue where it needs to be, fighters will be paid fairly. Does anyone here honestly think that dana and the fertittas have a master plan of making this sport huge and keeping all the fighters making peanuts? My personal thoughts are that this sport has grown quickly and on the back of zuffa's credit rating, meaning that the ufc put the growth of the sport ahead of the expenses... fighter's salaries and otherwise.

I just wanna see the best fighting the best.. and althought open contracts all around might seem like the solution, look at all the organizations who have tried it... it just doesnt work

Post #9   9/2/08 3:03:45AM   

RMFG_187

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i just hope Sengoku is first to go, and all I want is UFC, DREAM, and Affliction. although Affliction seems like it will be ona the first to go

I have ppl all the time, talkin to me about MMA. and the words I hear them use most is UFC and Chuck Liddell.

its a shame... they dont kno wat theyre missing

Post #10   9/2/08 11:48:55AM   

emfleek

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DREAM and UFC = all I need.

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Post #11   9/2/08 11:55:33AM   

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Posted by wapttn

or maybe mma would still be an underground sport with Keith Hackney junking everyone into submission.

_________________________________________________

I just wanna see the best fighting the best.. and althought open contracts all around might seem like the solution, look at all the organizations who have tried it... it just doesnt work



Please, please, please provide us with your common sense arguments on a more regular basis.



Post #12   9/2/08 12:09:00PM   

jlock003

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Interesting article. I haven't seen the p&l statements for these companies, but this definitely sparks some interest. Anybody around the forums seen the numbers?

Post #13   9/2/08 12:12:45PM   

ohiostate1016

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I think that the obvious winner if any of these orgs (mainly XC) go down is not the UFC, rather a smaller org like the AFL. Sure, the UFC might absorb some of the bigger name fighters at the top of XC (Kimbo, Antonio Silva, Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler), but the smaller American orgs like the AFL will probably sign some of the 2nd-tier guys from orgs that die (your Scott Smiths, Justin Eilers, and maybe even a guy like a Nick Thompson or something). The AFL is probably the fastest growing org in the sport right now outside of the UFC, and they are doing it with little to no big name backing or even a TV presence.

I'm not sure how much trouble DREAM is in, but they seem to be putting on decent cards with decent crowds. But like PRIDE, they are still facing problems in getting into the American mainstream, which would definitely solidify their presence on the MMA scene.

Post #14   9/2/08 2:10:15PM   

jae_1833

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Man, I'd really hate to see all these orgs go under. I meen yeah it's a pain in the ass to keep up with, and to watch and all, but really it just adds to the sport.. More Orgs=more Events=more Fights= more Entertainment. Variety is the spice of life! Competition is healthy for all business industries, including MMA. I think everyone would suffer if we went back to the MMA Dark Ages that were only about 5-6 years ago. Who wants that??

Post #15   9/2/08 3:02:03PM   
 
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