This week on CSN Washington's The Fight Fix, I join host Dustin Green for a preview of this weekend's UFC 137 event. Green and I discuss what the loss of St. Pierre does to the pay-per-view buyrate, our picks for the major fights on the card and what the UFC can reasonably do to prevent major losses like this.
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29 secs, how the loss of GSP will hurt UFC 137 financially: "Well, I think most of the tickets are already sold. I dunno if they woulda had a sellout or not. I think at the gate they'll probably be okay, but that's not where they make the most amount of their money. Where they make most of their money of course is on pay-per-view, and I shouldn't mince words, it's a devastating loss to lose Georges St. Pierre. If you believe Dana White, St. Pierre is the #1 pay-per-view draw in the company. That's arguable - I think Brock Lesnar might have him beat, but either way he's a gigantic draw. The reality is BJ Penn at one time, and probably still is, the most marketable, pay-per-view, sellable lightweight fighter. But after 2 losses to Edgar and fighting in Australia, I won't say he lost power, but he's certainly not at his peak. The rule is this: you can substitute great fights on a card - UFC 136 was a great fight card top to bottom and sold only 250,000 pay-per-view buys. There is no substitute for star power. Losing St. Pierre it's absolutely devastating. I think honestly at the high end, 450k would be a success for this card and that's a shame because St. Pierre at 129 had 850,000. He's capable of doing a lot. Last thing I'd say about it, it could well be that this is the 1st year in a long time that the UFC has not had a single pay-per-view event go over a million pay-per-view buys. It's a little disconcerting."
1:55, on losing fighters to injury before big fights: "At some point, there's just nothing you can do, right? I mean mixed martial arts training it's difficult, it's long, it's arduous. You're dealing with so many different kinds of training that can put so many different kinds of stresses on the body. Wrestling training is not the same as striking training. It's not the same as jiu jitsu training. All of them are kind of differently geared towards the body and affect the body in different ways, so I that sense nothing. The other part of it I would say though is, you know you look back and you lost Georges St. Pierre on this card and, again, two weeks until the fight there's nothing you can do. Except, early in the year they passed up on an opportunity to do Rashad Evans vs Jon Jones. Jon Jones fought in September, Rashad Evans fought in August. A month a part and they couldn't make that work? That fight would have been an EASY million dollar pay-per-view event. They could've done maybe, I dunno what the camps would've said, but maybe they could've done St. Pierre vs Silva - a megafight. I think UFC fans, MMA fans, and really combat sports fans are thirsting for a superfight. Now listen, I'm not here to tell Dana White how to run his business. He knows better than I do. They're gonna put on 34 cards next year. All I would say is, and Dana White would not disagree with me when I say the following, you have to put on the fights that people wanna pay money to see. People don't wanna pay as much money to see Ortiz vs Evans as they do Jones vs Evans. When you get the opportunity, you strike while the iron is hot. That I think is the lesson going forward."
3:23, UFC 137 picks: "Main event: BJ Penn should not lose this fight to Nick Diaz. He;s better than Nick Diaz at everything, except cardio. Unless the fight moves to 5 rounds, that is not a fight BJ should lose. In the co-main event, it's Matt Mitrione taking on Cheick Kongo. Matt Mitrione should probably win this fight. I think Cheick Kongo at one point was a bit of a better striker, he may still be a cleaner striker, but I think Mitritone might be a little bit more durable. He's not as shop worn at this point as Cheick Kongo. I think the fight to look out for, the one I'm certainly interested in: Hatsu Hioki taking on George Roop. Hatsu Hioki is probably the last Japanese import or guy who fought on the Japanese scene who is highly ranked. That's a ranking I believe is grossly undeserved, which isn't to say he's not a talented fighter. He's an exceptional talent particularly on the ground, but I believe the upbringing in that market is slightly fraudulent. I believe George Ropp is a guy who is extraordinarily talented and has just the right kind of skill set to maybe, maybe give Hioki some problems - not so much on the ground, but keeping it standing. I think if Roop can beat Hioki, I think it says a lot about the degradation of that scene."