Time for the UFC To Decide What Kind of Company It Really Is
We can all admit that we were fully entertained by the happenings of UFC 229, but now it's time for the UFC to determine how they want to be viewed in the professional sports world.
The now infamous brawl that took place at UFC 229 will forever go down as a memorable moment to cap off a hugely successful pay-per-view event. The main event between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov delivered in quality and hype, but the actions after the event have put the UFC in an interesting situation.
For years, UFC President Dana White has fought to proclaim UFC as a professional sport that is conducted in that manner. It was to never be compared to the WWE or anything that would deem it to be "carny." It took the show debut of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 to start to build the credibility of the organization, and from there White has helped grow the UFC into the strong seven-billion dollar industry.
Multiple big-time fights have taken place over the years ranging from Liddell/Couture, Shamrock/Ortiz, Rousey/Tate, to even Lesnar/Mir. Each of those was built up to their pay-per-view fight differently but were highly successful. Some were built on star power (Lesnar/Mir), some were built off of the Ultimate Fighter (Liddell/Couture), and some were certainly built on trash talk (Shamrock/Ortiz).
None of those examples were built up the way that McGregor/Nurmagomedov was. There were attacks on their respective nations, culture, religion, and family. We saw McGregor throw a dolly at a bus window to further launch the feud. Following the fight, Nurmagomedov went and attacked McGregor's corner and the brawl broke out.
A champion doesn't act in the manner that Nurmagomedov did. A champion doesn't jump out of the octagon to attack people on the outside. His work was done in the octagon and should have been left at that. Nurmagomedov had the chance to become one of the most respected athletes of today and that is no longer the case.
Oh, and McGregor doesn't get off with anything on this. The consistent jabs at people's religion, family, culture, and more goes over the line but he continuously received a pass because of his ability to draw money. Money is money, and I'm not arguing that point, but this falls squarely into the hands of Dana White and his lack of discipline when it comes to running his promotion.
White sounded discouraged by the way everything went down this past weekend, but it also feels like he's sitting back waiting for the opportunity to cash the check and the future one down the road. His baby of a company that he has spent countless amount of time and years trying to get it considered on that level of other sports is at a crossing point.
Do you continue to rake in the cash by letting your athletes conduct themselves in manners like this for entertainment, or do you police your athletes and treat them like they would in other leagues and suspend them moving forward even at the cost of potential cash?
That decision will be on the way soon, and when it is made it will tell everyone how the UFC should be considered in the professional sports...or entertainment ranks.