London’s UFC fanbase finally got themselves a main event, but it probably isn’t what they are hoping for.
MMA Junkie was the first to announce Sunday night that Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson has been named the main event for UFC’s March 18 trip to the O2 Arena in London England.
The announcement will likely come as a disappointment to some as the Manuwa-Anderson fight was announced about two weeks ago, as a supporting bout, not a main event. With tickets having gone on sale last week, UFC was in a position where they needed to have a main event in place and it appears that no bigger fights were available to be put together.
One contributor to the weaker than expected main event is that tickets appear to have sold quite well without an official main event announced. Tickets went on sale on Friday and, as of Monday afternoon, only single-seats are available at regular prices. Pairs of tickets are still available in the much more expensive Ticketmaster Official Platinum Seats designation.
Manuwa is coming off of a destructive knockout of Ovince St-Preux at UFC 204 in October while Anderson last defeated Sean O’Connel by TKO at a December Fight Night event. Manuwa is currently the number 8 ranked light heavyweight in the most recent MMATorch Rankings, while Anderson finds himself on the outside of the top ten looking in, but could find himself in a ranked position with a win over the surging Manuwa who should have the crowd behind him as a London based fighter.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: It’s too bad for London fans that they won’t be getting a bigger main event, but I think this is partly a sign of the new ownership’s priorities. This is a Fight Pass exclusive event so I don’t think WME-IMG want to sacrifice a potential pay-per-view main event or even co-main event for a Fight Pass show right now. Last year’s London show, which was also Fight Pass exclusive, headlined with Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping, which easily could have headlined a pay-per-view last year and done rather well. This was, of course, before the sale and efforts were being made to bolster Fight Pass by giving the platform big time fights. WME-IMG’s short term goal is to profit as much as possible in order to cover the huge interest they are paying on their investment, so expect to see pay-per-views get loaded up as much as possible as that is where the short term money is right now. Fight Pass will likely suffer and we will see main events for Fight Pass shows that are more reminiscent of the early cards they put on after launch, which will only appeal to the most dedicated of fans. It’s hard to fault them for just moving Manuwa-Anderson up to the main event since tickets sold so well without anything announced. That may get them by this time, but fans may leave disappointed and be hesitant to make the investment next time unless a quality main event is announced ahead of time.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Ian McCall wasn’t without a fight for long as Jarred Brooks will be stepping in to fight in place of Neil Seery who had to pull out of the fight due to a death in his family. McCall vs. Brooks will take place at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 from Brooklyn, NY. (SOURCE)
-Dana White said at Saturday’s post-fight press-conference that he felt Herb Dean screwed up the call at the end of the first round when he declared the round to be over when it appeared he was calling for a finish to the fight after Jorge Masvidal had Donald Cerrone in serious trouble. “I picked up the phone and call production and said, ‘Was it the end of the round?’ It wasn’t. It wasn’t the end of the round. He stopped it early.”
–Jose Aldo told TV Combate that he wants to take a serious run at boxing, not just a one-off money fight as Conor McGregor appears to be looking for. “Yes, I think about having a career in boxing, but I want to start from the bottom, start from zero,” he said. “I want to get ranked and one day fight for a belt. I don’t want to fight just to fight, for money, to go after big fights and challenge a great champion.”
-There will be no public weigh-ins for this weekend’s UFC event from Houston the day before the Super Bowl, also in Houston. Official weigh-ins will take place, as is customary, on Friday morning. There will be an open workout on Thursday for the public to attend.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/29: UFC on Fox Performance of the Night Bonuses and Viewership (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)