The disparity between UFC’s Big-time announcements and Small-time delivery

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion

yawn2The UFC managed to make a couple major announcements recently that had everyone talking. I’m referring to the announcements that BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar would face each other as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 19; as well as the injury to TJ Grant.

When I heard the Penn/Edgar announcement on last week’s UFC Tonight—Ariel Helwani broke the news—I couldn’t help but think of the way Bellator announced the Tito Ortiz signing and subsequent fight with Rampage Jackson. Basically, Bellator made the announcement on live TV in front of a screaming crowd with entrance music, fireworks and sirens. It gave the impression that we should be excited about it.

By contrast, the UFC continues to let a media member (Helwani) announce major news on his UFC Tonight segment. In most cases, Helwani—or another member of the media—ends up just tweeting breaking news stories as they come out. In the case of Grant’s injury, it was the fighter who tweeted the news. Rather unceremoniously. Is it just me, or is that lame?

With the UFC running more and more live events—PPV and free events on Fox and FS1—the opportunity to use them to make big announcements is certainly there. Wouldn’t it generate more buzz? It’s hard to get excited about a major news story being tweeted by Helwani and “favorited” 1000 times. How about making a big deal out of it? Edgar and Penn could have been in attendance at a live show when the story dropped. Josh Thomson could have been announced during a break at UFC 165 this weekend. The live crowd “pop” would be enough to justify that method.

Perhaps the only time in recent memory something like this happened, it was a HUGE success. It was UFC 126 and Jon Jones had just defeated Ryan Bader. Inside the cage, Bones was as shocked as everyone viewing when it was announced that Rashad Evans was injured and unable to fight Shogun Rua for the title. The reaction that Jones would replace him was exactly what’s been missing from these announcements of late.

I can’t be the only one who is left feeling a little blah when I discover big-time news—like the Penn/Edgar TUF pairing—from a fan named “Juice” on Twitter. Can I?

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