As you read this, a group of companies just pooled together some money to purchase the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) for a roundhouse kick to the groin of $4.2 Billion, and I don't know how I feel about that.
On the one hand, you may actually have fighters with - wait for it - medical and dental. One could argue that they get paid enough per fight, but those are only the guys and gals on the main stage. For every one of them, there's a thousand wannabes and Kentucky hillbillies fighting it out in backyards and abandoned bear dens who don't earn a month's rent on fight night. So it's nice to know that the guy who swears by classic pugilism can get his jaw re-wired for literally pennies on the dollar after he tussles with the kid from Bangkok who's been fighting for food and shelter since he was five.
On the other hand, mandatory sexual harassment training and new advertising campaigns and logos.
If you're going to fight in the new UFC, you're going to have to roll, spar, fight, tap out, KO, and TKO every Tom, Dick, and Harriet in your path... just to go sit in a conference room and listen to consultants tell you how to treat your coworkers, who - a lot of the time - walk around in nothing but bikinis. Smells like entrapment, to me. Right about now would be a good time to be graduating from Law School specializing in Title VII violations (relax, I looked that up).
And on advertising... the UFC is where mid-market and burgeoning companies could display an ad and actually make you care. Tap Out, Affliction, Onnit, Xyience... all of them could advertise alongside Bud Light and Monster Energy Drinks and still get noticed, even if they were covered with, ahem, "spatter."
Among the purchasers of the UFC: the Kraft family. Given that they're probably not going to cross promote the Patriots (would LOVE to see Tom Brady take on Randy Coutre, though - would TKO him with "handsomeness"), you're going to see ads for razors and KRAFT MACARONI AND CHEESE.
I can see it now: 'When in close quarters, toss elbows... with our mysterious cheese powder containing yellow dyes 5 and 6. Perfect for the thirty-something bachelor in your life who loves a healthy high-carb diet."
I'm no purist by any stretch (I still love boxing despite what Don King did to it), but I would like to have seen my favorite sport outside of college football be purchased by an investment group with things in their portfolio other than Miracle Whip, Chinese Cinema (the Wanda Group), and a penchant for oppressing anti-government speech (Tencent Holdings).
Zuffa was not without its problems, and Lord knows the Fertitta brothers were far from perfect, but at the heart of it all was Dana White (a lover of all things boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and Joe Rogan (probably the most accomplished non-professional fighter out there). Those two guys (and Bruce Buffer) have weathered some serious UFC storms, seeing it through all the sanctioning woes and PED conspiracies; it will be interesting to see if the new ownership has the same chutzpah.
In my experience, though, I don't think it's likely.
I'll keep watching because the talent is unbelievable and the rivalries are real, but the moment they start putting in sideline reporters without a minute spent on the mats and introducing five-ounce gloves, I'll be vocally disgusted.
I'll make up my lack of comic recommendations to you in the next post,
I'm Nick. I've never been afraid of getting in over my head, and I've survived every resulting injury from doing so. Played college football in the SEC while running a 5.1 forty at 200lbs, got booed off stage in front of 1,000 people at a 'Latino Laff Nite (I'm not Latino),' rolled with BJJ Black Belts, and got TKO'd by a Golden Gloves boxing champion during a fundraiser for MDA. The closest I ever got to being a real man was when my mom cut me off on the way to the Marine Recruiter's office - in the parking lot.