Upon first reading the report of BJ Penn turning down a title defense against Kenny Florian at UFC 99, I admit I was ready to write how I thought he was being the self centered guy he can be at times. However, after reading that he wanted to spend more time with his newborn daughter I had to digress a bit. Especially since I have an 8 month old daughter myself. I can definitely understand him wanting to do that with the amount of time he put into training camp as well as promoting his showdown with Georges St. Pierre. However, Michael Rome just touched on something that had crossed my mind but I didn't associate it with the problem at hand. He's basically saying that these foreign shows don't have any high profile fighters headlining because of the PPV buys for those shows are relatively low. Therefore, the fighters are not making as much money as they would otherwise if they shows were being held in America. Which equates to foreign shows not being headlined by superstars like Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, and Randy Couture.
If you put yourself in a fighters shoes it only makes sense. I wouldn't want to fight on a foreign card either if it was going to take potential money out of my pocket. We are talking about upwards of a million dollars or more in some cases. Just depending on how each particular fighters contracts are written up. It's common knowledge that the larger stars receive monies that are relative to how many PPV buys the card they fight on does. As long as the PPV buys are low on the foreign cards I think this will always be a problem.
However, with the UFC looking to implement more 360 deals in determining what sponsors a fighter can use, I think some adjustments can be made to balance this problem somewhat. If the UFC could get all of the foreign events to be aired on Spike TV, then the UFC could goto these sponsors and advocate for more money on behalf of the fighters since it's being seen by millions of people. Instead of the usual 225K baseline that usually purchases the foreign cards. I'm not sure that this would remedy the situation entirely, but it would at least make it a little more enticing for the superstars to take more main event slots on the foreign cards.