I am happy the UFC has done such a good job getting the UFC 151 fights rescheduled. I am curious if you think some fighters will get a boost with the rescheduling now. Takeya Mizugaki and Yasuhiro Urushitani are now scheduled to fight in Macau, which is way closer to Japan than Las Vegas. Jacob Volkmann is getting to fight in his home state of Minnesota. Do you think some of these rescheduled fights now have a new spin because of these factors? -- Aaron from Montana
Tristen Critchfield, associate editor: With that kind of glass-half-full mentality, you deserve a job with the UFC’s PR team. While it is nice to look for silver linings after one of the darkest days in promotion history, my guess is that the majority of the fighters who were scheduled to compete at UFC 151 would have preferred a Sept. 1 payday. Sure, Volkmann’s friends and family in Minnesota can make it to the Target Center more easily than they could the Mandalay Bay, but is that really going to have an impact on the overall gate -- or his check -- in the long run? And Mizugaki and Urushitani might draw more interest in Macau than in Vegas, but they also have to survive two extra months of training without issue.
Twitter painted a broad picture of undercard fighter woes last Thursday, with many UFC 151 competitors taking to the social medium to air their grievances with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. While that was not necessarily fair, it is understandable why they were upset: training for and traveling to a fight costs money, and most of these guys needed that paycheck to survive. Some even lost money as a result of the debacle. Not everyone is so financially comfortable that they can afford to sit out an event.
For example, Daron Cruickshank earned $16,000 (including an $8,000 win bonus) for his triumph over Chris Tickle at “The Ultimate Fighter 15” Finale in June, while Henry Martinez garnered $12,000 (including a $6,000 win bonus) for beating Bernardo Magalhaes that same month. Cruickshank and Martinez were scheduled to square off at UFC 151; now their tussle has been pushed back to Dec. 8.
Obviously, neither Cruickshank nor Martinez are at the top of the UFC’s financial food chain, and not only do both men need a steady income but postponing the fight for so long also likely eliminates the possibility that either fighter could have gotten an extra bout in before year’s end. With that in mind, try selling Cruickshank or Martinez on the merits of competing on a UFC on Fox 5 card three months after their originally scheduled paydays.
The UFC should certainly be commended for making the effort to accommodate as many disgruntled employees as it possibly can. However, not everyone can be so fortunate as Charlie Brenneman and Kyle Noke, whose welterweight bout was moved to the next available date: UFC 152 on Sept. 22. As you mentioned, the promotion has done its best to provide many of those affected by the UFC 151 cancellation with alternate destinations that are as compelling and desirable as humanly possible. That said, there is really only one possible response here, using best fight manager’s voice: “We’re interested in dollar signs, not storylines.”
Everyone -- whether it be UFC President Dana White, the UFC, the fight venue or the fighters themselves -- is working toward that same bottom line. In the meantime, somebody please get Aaron a UFC job application; the organization can always use a little more positive spin in times like these.
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