How much MMA is too much on television?

Now that the dust has settled from UFC 129 in Toronto, I decided to look ahead and see what exciting MMA events are ahead.

We have UFC 130 (Rampage vs Hamill) on May 28.
A week later: The Ultimate Fighter live finale on June 4.
A week later: UFC 131 (Dos Santos vs Carwin) on June 11.
A week later: Strikeforce (Overeem vs Werdum) on June 18, now under Zuffa ownership.
A week later: UFC Live on Versus (Marquardt vs Johnson) on June 26.
A week later: UFC 132 (Cruz vs Faber 2) on July 2.

Phew. That’s six consecutive weekends with major MMA events happening. It’s a far cry from the old days, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Royce Gracie would pop up once a year for the UFC tournament. It begs the question: how much MMA is too much?

I see four possible models for an MMA promotion’s broadcast schedule:

1. The annual (original UFC model)
This model has fittingly gone the way of the dinosaur. Back then, with the Internet not really in play, the UFC probably needed a full year to promote its event and fill the seats. Even then, events would only have around 1,200 people.

2. The pro wrestling model
Don’t worry – I’m not comparing mixed martial arts to the WWE. I’m just referencing the pro wrestling model, which consists of several big events per year (monthly or bi-monthly). This model allows for the hyping of “superfights”; the UFC arguably stuck with this model for most of the 2000s.

3. The NFL (and current UFC) model
The UFC has almost become a weekly sporting affair, with events more weekends than not and the reality TV show ensuring that there is some sort of MMA programming to see every week. While this model brings us close to the saturation point, I understand the UFC’s motivation. By making MMA an everyday thing, constantly present, it feels more like a “true” sport, doesn’t it? People can have water-cooler discussions about the UFC’s happenings every day or at least every week, the same way they would about football on Monday morning.

4. The NHL/NBA/MLB (daily) model
I for one hope MMA doesn’t take the next step and become a daily operation. Seeing combatants battle in the Octagon every day would be too much; the fights could lose their significance.

Overall, I think MMA is doing just fine at No. 3. I just hope it stops before it saturates our lives at No. 4.

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