Why UFC on ABC is Monumental for MMA


For the first time in history, the UFC will have an event on the most publicly accessible channel in the United States, ABC. After coming off of a year where the UFC was the first sport to return after the hiatus, Mixed Martial Arts was for the first time in the main spotlight of all of sports. And the UFC absolutely delivered. They continued on this path delivering massive event after massive event. Their deal with ESPN has been a lucrative one for both ends, even without fans in the arena. And with the UFC on the biggest stage of ABC looming, there is yet another opportunity for the sport to become that much bigger. But why is this so big for the UFC and the sport of MMA? 


In 1996, the Late John McCain wrote a letter to all 50 governors requesting them to not hold UFC events in their state calling the sport no more than “human cockfighting”. With this, the UFC had a hard time getting shows done and even getting on TV. But due to this, they were able to create sanctioned rules and thus allowing the UFC to have more longevity. Without the criticism of the early UFC events, the sport wouldn’t have developed the legitimacy and the set of unified rules that they have today.


The UFC’s problems did not end there. In the early 2000s, the UFC was losing money and not making a profit. The only thing that saved the UFC and maybe the future of MMA was the deal with SpikeTV. The reality show The Ultimate Fighter brought more eyes to the sport and created a new influx of fans. The show’s epic finale allowed for the relationship with SpikeTV to continue and allowed for the UFC to survive when they were on the path to bankruptcy. 


With the UFC set to have their debut show on ABC, it’s good to remember how far the sport has come and how far they have still to go. Going from a sport that was nearly outlawed to now being on public TV, MMA has become bigger than it ever has been breaking through multiple barriers. Dana White has clearly stated that he wants the UFC to become one of the biggest sports globally and with the diversity of fighters signed to the promotion and the platform that it’s on, it’s well on its way to doing that. The UFC on ABC is coming at a perfect time for the sport, now that it’s bigger than ever. With more and more superstars coming out of the sport, the UFC is more recognizable than ever. Having ABC’s platform on Saturday, look for the UFC and the sport of MMA to become one of the mainstays of global sports. 


You can follow Johnathan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

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