The UFC’s second event on Fox was not a good showing. Here’s why (in order of occurrence):
Jon Jones- Jon Jones is charismatic, so I expected him to do a good job as an analyst. Unfortunately, he did not. The way he was sitting back in his chair and constantly looking down at his notes seemed half-assed. Maybe he was nervous or not fully prepared, but he didn’t speak with authority when he was talking. He didn’t come across like an expert on the fighters. In fact, I thought he was so bad that he dragged down Randy Couture. And I think it takes a lot to bring down the usually awesome Couture.
Demian Maia- Opening the broadcast with a Demian Maia fight was a poor choice, because his fights are bi-polar. He's either really entertaining or he's excruciating. When he fights on the ground, he’s great to watch. When he fights standing up, he’s awful. Because of that, he should never be the first fight on a card. Ever. In fact, I’d prefer that he no longer fight on main cards at all. That way if he has a fight contested on the feet, the world will have been spared of not witnessing a boring decision with some of the sloppiest stand-up around. And if he has a fight contested on the ground, then it will probably be short enough to be added to the broadcast and the world will get to see his brilliance. Unfortunately, the former happened. Just without the sparing part.
Matchmaking/Lack of hype- The fights on the main card of a broadcast should fall into one of two categories: likely to be exciting or high stakes. The fights on this card were supposed to be the latter. So while the Bisping-Sonnen and Rashad-Davis fights didn’t deliver the greatest action, you can’t fault the UFC. They chose high stakes fights over likely to be entertaining. What you can fault UFC for was the lack of hype around the conclusion of the fights. The hype for the Sonnen-Silva rematch paled in comparison to what happened after Sonnen tore through Brian Stann. His post-fight speech wasn’t as good and not having Anderson Silva there made it far less exciting. I don’t think that was an effective sell for the rematch. Maybe there was a reason Silva couldn’t be there, but they didn’t have that excuse with Jones and Rashad. How do you have Jon Jones in the building and not bring him into the cage after the main event? The best way to take the spotlight off of the lack of action in the cage is to shift the focus to the results and what it means going forward. They didn’t really do that. The event didn’t leave you saying “those fights were awesome” or “I can’t wait to see Sonnen-Silva II and Rashad vs. Jones.” We didn’t get to see awesome fights, nor the proper hype for awesome fights to come. So for that, I think this event was disappointing.
Now while there were mistakes made on this broadcast, I still think the biggest mistake the UFC has made thus far is not airing Guida-Henderson on their first broadcast. That was a huge misstep. It was the perfect introduction fight for casual viewers. Think of how much favor the UFC would have built up with that fight. How much more forgiving would the casual fan be of boring fights, if they had seen that fight? Instead, they've been subjected to four fights that haven't delivered. Instead of the UFC putting their best foot forward, man have they struggled out of the gate (in regards to fight quality).
For future broadcasts, they need to do a better job of making entertaining matchups or driving home the importance of the fights. And please make Curt Menefee, Randy Couture and Kenny Florian the permanent analysts for the broadcasts. No more guest analysts that are there just to hype future fights. If they want to hype a fight, do it in the cage or in an interview ringside. Leave the analysts to be unbiased and analyze.
Hopefully the next broadcast is successful, so the decision to not air Guida-Henderson doesn't continue to haunt the UFC.