Time to return to schedule for the UFC



by Mike Pendleton | @MP2310


It all started when UFC President Dana cancelled a potential fight between middleweight champion Michael Bisping and the returning Georges St-Pierre. While St-Pierre was a mega star during his stay at the top in the UFC, after a three-year absence, White wasn’t willing to let him call the shots.

The same boss who has allowed stars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey to play by their own rules, after a shaky beginning to the 2017 calendar year for the UFC, Dana White wasn’t having it anymore. Until UFC 211, the promotion had seen a fair share of struggles in 2017 with lackluster performances in main events, bad cards all around, and even a moment where White said the best part about the evening was the ride home from the event.

This isn’t the same UFC fans knew five years ago, let alone two years ago or pretty much any time before the sale to WME-IMG went down. With the Fertitta brothers and future hall of fame matchmaker Joe Silva out of the picture, the new era of the UFC has fallen into the hands of matchmaker Sean Shelby and new owner Ari Emanuel. The start hasn’t been a good one, but with the cancelling of Bisping vs St-Pierre, the UFC may be returning to putting on the best fights that the fans want to see.

As for the middleweight division, Bisping is now set to defend his title against top contender Yoel Romero, who won the opportunity to fight for the title when he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 205. With the top guys going at it, former champion Weidman has been booked to fight Kelvin Gastelum who has been rising since he moved up to the middleweight division, and that could provide great opportunities for other top middleweights Gegard Mousasi and Luke Rockhold.

While one division gets figured out, the lightweight champion, Conor McGregor continues to focus on his jump into the boxing world. Yet again, already have gone through a holdup in the featherweight division due to McGregor’s adventurous ways, Dana White has set a deadline for a potential superfight between McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather. While there is a ton of money to be made in that potential cross-sport superfight, White is making it known that the UFC is still his business, and his top fighters need to fight.

While McGregor’s fighting future is to be determined, the fact that there is now a deadline in McGregor vs Mayweather, means that the UFC can now focus on getting a top contender in the lightweight division. Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov were supposed to fight for an interim title at UFC 209 until Nurmagomedov was pulled due to issues while cutting weight and the division has seemingly been on pause ever since.

It’s time for the UFC to start focusing on their lightweight division and look to getting fights with top contenders Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, and Nate Diaz, while Nurmagomedov is on the sidelines during Ramadan. As the summer days are approaching, the UFC is getting recognized more for fighters who are not fighting rather than those who are and it’s time for a change.

Dana White appears to be putting his foot down and returning his focus to providing UFC fans with the ultimate thrill ride in combat sports for every fight card that is assembled. Stars may be stars, but every fighter who has competed in the UFC has someway contributed to their success. For the rest of 2017, it’s time to get back to the old UFC ways and return to their schedule.

A schedule filled with excitement, big fights, and entertainment for each and every card for the rest of the year. The transition to the WME ownership group has not been smooth, but with White now starting to get in front of things and stop his catering to stars, it feels as if things are starting to return to normal for the UFC and the fans.

Stars certainly deserve special treatment when earned, but if is has not been earned lately inside the Octagon, then the UFC will make other plans. UFC 211 may have been the beginning of a new chapter for WME, but now it’s time to get all divisions on par and provide fans with the fights they want to see.

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