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Dave Meltzer Points Out The Flaws In Affliction's Business Model

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To wit:

- The first was the outdated belief that heavyweight is fighting's marquee division. This notion led Affliction to overspend in an effort to corner the market on those it judged to be the top heavyweights, all in the name of making the promotion a major player.

-The second flaw was the idea of promoting pay-per-view events without a strong television show to build up the events. Between buying the company in 2001, and the debut of "The Ultimate Fighter" television show in 2005, UFC only had one truly financially successful pay-per-view event, and that was based on getting the pro wrestling audience to purchase the first Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz fight in 2002.

-There was also the mistake of equating Fedor Emelianenko's status as the top heavyweight fighter in the world (and many consider him the best overall fighter) with his marquee value. BodogFIGHT and Japan's PRIDE had Emelianenko and had bombed on pay per view. Affliction did a better job than its predecessors at marketing Emelianenko, and MMA in general has gained popularity in recent years, but Emelianenko vs. Barnett, which some saw as No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, was going to be lucky to do six percent of the business that Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir did at UFC 100.

-Affliction also made the classic mistake that almost everyone on the inside of the industry falls for: thinking Internet message boards and blogs reflect the opinions of the overall MMA fan base. Such sites actually reflect a tiny percentage of ticket and pay-per-view buying public, whose tastes are markedly different than the hardcore base. Promotion on television and the ability to garner a mainstream buzz are the key to financial success, not getting message board posters excited.

Meltzer pretty much nails the correct here on all of the points.  Although I agree that the message boards/blogs make up a very small percentage of the ticket and PPV buying public, I do believe that the same message boards/blogs have significant influence on certain things in the industry.  Case in point, is the announcement of the Dan Henderson/Rich Franklin at UFC 103.  There was an overall feeling of negativity or unworthiness for that fight to be the main event of UFC 103 across the internet.  Fans on the internet felt it was too soon, not needed, and whatever other adjectives you want to put out there.  Therefore, rumors began to circulate afterwards that the fight wouldn't happen as Rich Franklin himself commented about it on his twitter account.  I think Zuffa does certain things just to see how the internet community will react and then dictates what path they want to take sometimes.