Championships matter…well at least they used to matter.
I miss the days when being a champion actually meant something. A time when champions competed and defended their titles. A time when the UFC actually cared about what their championship represented. But in today’s world of flash and instant gratification it seems like championships have lost their luster.
Now before I go any further into this diatribe I want to make one thing very clear, I do not fault a fighter like Conor McGregor – or any fighter for that matter – who chases the big payday when the opportunity arises. UFC fighters are grossly underpaid when you consider their short career window and the incredible toll training and competing takes on the body. Fighters should always look for the best payday.
The fact we see so many interim titles today is a UFC management problem…and it’s a big one.
Outside of an injury that would keep a champion out of action for one year or longer an interim championships simply make zero sense. Sure fans want to see champions compete but they want real champions not fabricated ones. But rather than hold their champions’ feet to the fire the UFC brass just pulls an interim title out of thin air and tries to shove it down our throat.
The UFC just doesn’t seem to grasp the inherent importance of a championship so they trick their fan base in to purchasing lackluster pay-per-views on a monthly basis by advertising main events with gold on the line. The only problem is this fan base is now hip to the fact that UFC championships have become hollow and the lackluster pay-per-view buy rates are a direct result of this championship over-saturation.
What do titles even mean any more if they are just going to be created to try and sell a crappy fight card?
You want your champion to defend the title put a clause in the contact that says all champions must defend or be scheduled to defend their title within nine months. If they don’t choose to defend at that point, vacate the title and move on.
Vacating titles isn’t an ideal scenario but ask yourself a simple question – is a champion really a champion if they do not defend their title? And honestly, would it make what we currently get any worse?
I’m tired of fabricated champions and I am tired of seeing the sport’s legitimacy watered down by the practice of creating interim titles. The UFC needs to figure this out and fast because fans are going to start spending their money elsewhere.