A little over a year ago, most of us UFC fans scoffed at the idea of Kimbo Slice entering the octagon. Most felt he was undeserving for being spotlighted on such a big stage and his embarrassing KO at the hands of Seth Petruzelli created a domino effect of doom for EliteXC. Fast forward to now and suddenly, of all people, Dana White is thanking his lucky stars for the presence of Kimbo. It is kind of funny to think that one person has totally revamped an otherwise dull platform. Now we are a little over 24 hours away from Kimbo Slice getting his first crack at a UFC contract and it seems the internet and everyone is buzzing. The question now is: What next? Has the UFC jumped the proverbial shark with this season and setting themselves and Spike TV up to have to scramble for something to keep the viewers, old and new, that they will no doubt gain this season. My analysis after the jump.
While this season will undoubtedly be a win for the UFC brass and for Spike TV's ratings, it will be a nightmare for them in the future. Not only do they have gold in the Quinton Jackson/Rashad Evans squabbles that are funny and humorous enough to keep a lot people (well me) intrigued to watch (Yeah I know it lost some of it's steam because of the ongoing Rampage situation, but as Kelvin said, we will all be seeing that fight come March/April/May...I guarantee that) they also have an intriguing group of heavyweights with known stars such as Roy Nelson and some former NFL stars. This was a step in the right direction for the formula to win back the fans that helped catapult ‘The Ultimate Fighter'. However, throw in Kimbo Slice and you have pure gold. So when the dust settles for this season, what can they possibly do next? It's common for reality shows to lose their luster after several seasons of the same thing and to boost ratings said reality show does something to bring back its fanbase or create a new one. The problem with ‘The Ultimate Fighter' is the case of ‘we've already seen that'. Every season has nearly the same mold. Sixteen guys come in, there's one or two that are a little ahead of the pack, there's a drunken rage, repeat, repeat, repeat. While this season doesn't deviate that much from the norm, it has the story of Kimbo trying to get into the UFC, which is compelling enough for viewers to sit through absolute borefests like they were last week. Can they replicate that for the upcoming seasons? I think once they reap the benefits of Kimbo, they'll really need to go all out for the following season(s) of TUF.
Here's my take on possible scenarios that Zuffa can run that will keep the momentum up on future seasons. With the mess that the welterweight and middleweight champions have made in their divisions, why not get a group of possible contenders or even guys right on the cusp, put them in the house and have it similar to the ‘Comeback' season where they don't have one definitive coach but several that will help them on a quest for a title shot. Sure, that would keep a good list of guys on the shelf for a while and with UFC wanting to do more shows, they need as many fighters available for them as possible. So maybe that wouldn't be the best idea.
Another possible scenario could be, if they ever decide to merge the WEC with UFC, is have the top guys of the respective weight classes on the show and have them have a ‘tournament' to crown the first UFC champion of each of their weight classes. I know, very far fetched, but these are the types of things the UFC HAVE to be thinking about to garner some type of hype for their upcoming seasons. I think by ‘jumping the shark' with Kimbo they will find it even harder to keep the fans of their show as they go along and with the current crop of champions in the UFC, the only guy I would even be a little bit excited about seeing coach is Brock Lesnar, just because I think he's the only other guy with personality to bring interest to the show. With that said, let's all enjoy ‘The Ultimate Fighter 10: Quest of Kimbo' while we can and prepare for some of Spike TV's best ratings in history and of course, what do you guys think the UFC should do to keep up the ratings for the next season of TUF?