UFC 147: Recipe for a Refund

I mean, it looks like a real event and all, but… (

UFC 147 was one of the worst numbered events I can recall.  It ended up being a TUF series finale headlined by a very underwhelming Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva main event.  Usually the series finales are broadcast on the network that aired them, but they made an exception for this one because the two headline fights that were to be paired with it were going to be spectacular.

It was announced that Anderson Silva would fight Chael Sonnen in a rematch of one of the greatest comebacks of all time.  Vitor Belfort would face Wanderlei Silva, as the two coaches of TUF Brazil.  The usual shenanigans that go along with a TUF series finale would set the stage.  Then the rug was pulled out from under us.

First, the UFC realized that the United Nations Rio+20 was scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro on the same weekend that the event was to take place.  All the hotel rooms in Rio were already booked.  Who’s miscue is that?  Surely, someone in the massive organization that is the UFC has the job of making sure they don’t conflict with other things in the city that it’s being held in.  It’s like the digital watch on one of the Scots in Braveheart.  Would I have caught it?  Probably not…but I don’t get paid money to catch it.  Who didn’t know that the entire United Nations was descending on Rio de Janeiro?

Dude, where’s my wristwatch?  (Photo Credit: Movie Braveheart)

With Rio de Janeiro now out of the question, the event was moved to Belo Horizonte, not nearly as glamorous a location for a marquee event.  And so the UFC took the Silva v Sonnen fight and bumped it ahead to UFC 148 in Las Vegas.  Belfort v Silva was moved to the main event.  Then Belfort’s hand injury, and subsequent withdrawal from the event, left the UFC scrambling to keep the card respectable.  What they put together was Wanderlei Silva vs Rich Franklin at a catchweight, with Fabricio Werdum v Mike Russow as the other recognizable fighters on the card.  That, plus the fights from the series made for a pretty underwhelming line-up.

What happened next was unthinkable.  The UFC, prior to the event taking place, offered a 3-day window for people to get a refund if they decided they didn’t want to attend the Frankenstein-ed final product that was UFC 147.  It’s never happened before and it may never happen again, but it was the right thing for the company to do.  I haven’t seen what the results were for the trade-in offer, but I’d be interested to find out.  I live in Australia and, seeing as they only come out here once a year, they could put Chuck Lidell in the cage with a kangaroo and 20,000 people would gladly pay $100 a pop to sit in the nosebleed seats.  Then you watch a stacked New Year event in Vegas and the arena is half empty even though the prelims consist of title contenders.  I’m going to assume that Belo Horizonte falls more in to the Australia and less into the Las Vegas category.

The biggest question is which Chuck will show up…the one who crushed Randy, or the one who got beat by Keith Jardine. (Drawing: Artist unknown)

I wasn’t able to watch it all.  What I did see was not very impressive.  Fabricio Werdum looked good.  Maybe good enough to get into the next title eliminator at heavyweight.  It actually looks as if he’s developed some stand-up.  Next, Rampage’ll be pulling gogoplatas and Nick Diaz’ll give up smoking weed.  Rodrigo Damm was impressive in submitting Anistavio Medeiros.  The two fights for the 6-figure contracts were nothing short of bland (as most of the finales have been as of late).  The main event had some fireworks, but the result was predictable.  Rich Franklin won a decision from a completely gassed Wanderlei Silva in a fight that would have been great a few years back.  I’m still waiting for Wand to retire because I get sad watching him lose.

This wasn’t the strongest weekend for the promotion that is my favorite in the world.  If you’ve only read these first two posts on the UFC then you’d be inclined to think that I’m a UFC basher.  That couldn’t be farther than the truth.  I’m generally very pleased with the product they produce and they’ve basically worked boxing, which once was a major player in my spectatorial life, right out of the picture.  I’m afraid that this is the first glaring slip-up in the UFC’s ambitious expansion plan.  So many events in so many places all over the world is bound produce some duds.  They’re just rarely in this bright of a spotlight.  Usually they’re held in Ft Lauderdale and have Rick Story in the main event.  The injuries are responsible for some of it, but a logistical error on the UFC’s part played a larger part.  This event was supposed to be one of the biggest in the promotions history and ended up being one of the worst in the Zuffa era.

  1. Nice post. I will continue to follow your blog and your writing. Peace.

  2. schoolboy errors (from the UFC, not your article), blog followed 🙂

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