We are roughly halfway through the year 2015 and, needless to say, we have seen our fair share of violence inside a cage. Out of the many hours we’ve spent watching and all types of different fight cards we have sat through so far this year, you would be hard pressed to find a more entertaining one than June’s UFC Fight Night 68.
The buzz heading into UFC Fight Night 68 was barely existent. After some shuffling atop of the card, Dan Henderson and Tim Boetsch were promoted from co-headliner to the main event slot. Given where both men stood in their respective careers, the anticipation for this card was at an all-time low. Many MMA heads were very vocal about skipping this event and rather go out and be social humans for a change. Boy, did they pick the wrong Saturday to make that change.
As we all know, the UFC has ramped up its schedule and it seems like the company has a fight card coming up each and every week. Some cards, like UFC 187, are stacked and feel like can’t-miss events. However, also as a result of this pace, some cards do not have the names that we like to see or the UFC doesn’t have time to tell us why we should care about watching the next event coming up. UFC Fight Night 68 fell under this category, but it continued a trend we have seen more often than not with these type of cards — it was awesome!
Unfortunately, though it is easily the front-runner for “Event of the Year” thus far, many fans and media members will not remember this card much as the year progresses. Though the night filled the violence meter to the highest possible level, we still need names and fights that matter. No disrespect to all the other competitors who fought in New Orleans that night, but Henderson was the only household name that stepped in the cage at the event. Because of that lack of name power on the card, it will be forgotten rather quickly and not get the respect it deserves in the long term.
On top of not having marquee names, most of the fights did not have high stakes involved. The Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione fight had the most meaning heading in, and that wasn’t even for a guaranteed No. 1 contender slot, but only for a shot to be in the mix. The lack of impactful fights, along with the lack of star power, will undoubtedly hinder this event as we move forward in this calendar year.
There is a reason why some people always say these less anticipated cards usually deliver more action than their more highly anticipated counterparts. UFC Fight Night 68 added more ammunition to that claim. It can be argued that it is no longer one’s opinion, but a fact. We have seen this trend for a while now.
Many pundits go back and forth on the reason for this trend. Is it the fact that the fighters on these cards make less money, so they are going after the bonuses much more aggressively? Is it the size of the cage, which usually is smaller for these shows?
It is hard to pinpoint the cause, but that’s OK. We don’t have to. All we have to do is keep tuning in to these so-called “lesser” shows and hopefully we keep getting the type of results we saw in New Orleans on June 6.