FREEMAN: 5 things a new MMA promotion can do to challenge UFC

By Ray Freeman, MMATorch Contributor

For over 25 years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been noticed as the top tier platform for the best fighters on the planet. The crown is constantly being challenged by other promotions. While some have been absorbed by the titan, i.e. Pride & Strikeforce; promotions like Bellator, Professional Fighters League (PFL), and ONE FC all thrive with one goal in mind, to be #1.

Here are my 5 ideas any promotion can utilize to set them apart from the rest.

Netflix Content – There is a serious lack of MMA representation on the worlds largest streaming platform. Only Conor McGregor’s ‘Notorious’ and ‘Stronger than the world’ is accessible on Netflix. And the latter of the two is only known to hardcore fans as a rendition to Jose Aldo’s true story. If a promotion can pitch a reality TV show that follows its fighters, it would bring a lot of casual eyes to the brand. Do you know how many random genres or hobbies you’ve stumbled upon simply because it was in your ‘popular on Netflix’ section?  

Masters Division/Legends League –Names like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort are men that have all competed within the past year. At 42+ years of age, these men still have the desire to compete. A roster dedicated to matchmaking legends with each other would be a great way for fans to still see favorite former champions and journeymen. As opposed to matches like Anderson Silva vs. Jared Cannonier in which one fighter is coming into his form, and the other is clearly on his way out.

Earn your Position– A simple rule change with drastic results. At the end of the rounds, fighters still get their one min break. But instead of beginning a new round standing, the fighter that earned the better position starts there in the next round. This should reward the guy pressing the action and lead to more finishes

Single Night Tournaments– Invicta FC recently held a strawweight tournament to crown a champion. First and second fights were 1 round, the final fight was a 3-round fight. On this night, we saw 1 fighter impose her will on 3 other VERY different fighters. This naturally built a ‘star’ in Brianna Van Buren. If a promotion is looking to catapult someone into the atmosphere in a short amount of time, this is the formula.


Point System– We have the technology available to count every punch, kick, takedown, top position time, octagon control in real time. Yet we still use a broken boxing 10 point must system to score fights like its 1943. A dedicated and easy to understand point system would be the top thing to make MMA appealing to traditional sports fans. Imagine following the score on the bottom of the screen in real time just like football, basketball, or baseball. Not only would this attract new fans, but it could solve massive amounts of controversial decisions.

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