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UFC 194 fight card: What’s at stake?

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There’s lots of talk about how the UFC has had a great 2015 and that’s true. There’ve been a number of missteps, of course. The Reebok apparel deal is a rolling calamity, for example. There have also been a number of unforeseen setbacks like Jon Jones’ misconduct or surprising drug test failures of marquee attractions or antitrust lawsuits from former fighters.

Those complications matter in the overall picture, but they shouldn’t obstruct the very discernable larger view. Call it the year of ambition. Call it the year the UFC peacocked. Call it the year they simply got lucky, if you wish. Whatever the moniker or label, 2015 represents a year the UFC reengaged their own imagination, impulse and drive and matched it with their unparalleled machine.

It’s not that UFC is only now trying to test their limits. Their willingness to discover the boundaries of their abilities is actually a constant in their business practices. The key differentiator now is the turn inward. Rather than a previous unrelenting focus on extreme brand visibility, the emphasis has shifted to yes, casting a wide net, but more importantly, product curation.

The UFC has never been known for poor quality, but their ear for criticism has improved. Their understanding of what drives fan interest, fighter star power and brand loyalty has gotten better. Most importantly, their willingness to not only meet those expectations but exceed them has grown. And with that growth in willingness, a concurrent capability has emerged.

UFC 194 represents any number of things, like the growth of MMA internationally or the rise of sub-lightweight divisions as box office attractions. For me, however, the emphasis is different. Saturday’s pay-per-view events represents evidence the UFC has simply gotten better as a promoter. Much of the conversation about the Ultimate Fighting Championship focuses on its ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting