The traditional combat sports feeder systems are screwed
The global pandemic has ravaged various aspects of the economy, doing untold amounts of damage to a wide variety of business and companies. The smaller fight promotions that help guide young talent to major promotions are among those, and the impact could be felt for years. Huh.
“It’s an unusual set of circumstances moving into the future, something we’ve never experienced in the past — at least in my 35 years of being a fight promoter,” [Bellator MMA President Scott] Coker said. “The whole feeder system is going to be interrupted for, I think, a few years. It’s a real problem, and it’s something we have to figure out.” – via ESPN
“It bothers me,” UFC president Dana White said to ESPN’s Hallie Grossman last week. “It’s a problem. … It might not affect me this year or next year, but it’s gonna affect me. It’s gonna affect my business. It’s not a good thing that that’s happening right now. It’s absolutely, positively something that is a concern to me.” – via ESPN
That doesn’t sound good. Any time White and Coker are on the same page, you know it’s a big deal. The article is well worth the lengthy read, giving different perspectives on a massive problem that is reaching into all aspects of combat sports.
It doesn’t seem like there are a ton of solutions at this point, either. Apart from expanding live-stream coverage of regional promotions, and trying to help fund them in that way, there aren’t a lot of new or available avenues for revenue. Which means a lack of events, which means a lack of fights, which means a lack of growth. While it’s clearly a major problem now, professional MMA may not feel the full effects of this lack of growth for a few years.
A fighter is working toward a return to fighting after suffering a brainstem hemorrhage a year ago. While battling back from that kind of damage is inspiring, it may take longer for the combat sports pipeline to return to what it looked like in 2019. One thing that manages to stay the same, pandemic or not: fighter pay is a mess. And that includes performance of the night bonuses.
Huh? for the road
What in the actual f**k! Ya telling me that's supposed to be DC? Looks more like dungeon master from dungeons and dragons pic.twitter.com/EbuPgw82ot
— Neil Butcher (@MMAassault1) October 17, 2020