I am not an MMA fan. Not because I dislike it, but simply because I haven't really gotten into it.
However, I do respect MMA, highly. I respect it for its growth curve, for the way it has attracted full-time sports-media attention and for its business plan.
Though I know nothing about MMA (similar to the way I know very little -- but respect very much -- NASCAR and even the NHL), I led today's SN column with an homage to UFC 100.
"UFC 100": The name alone delivers some sort of gravitas, doesn't it? Hell, the Super Bowl is only up to the 40s. Air Jordans only made it to 23 before ending the numbering convention.
I see "UFC 100" as shorthand for everything that MMA has done right in its brief, meteoric history (at least version 2.0 since Dana White took over):
*UFC is the dominant organization.
*They have reached 100 mega-events.
*Don't look for it on broadcast TV or even cable. It's PPV, all the way.
What a strategy -- it's not unique (that's how boxing did it and still does it, to the extent that boxing matters anymore), but it is so effective.
I thought MMA on CBS primetime would be a hit; the mistake was going with some lower-tier MMA outfit, rather than UFC. It would be like signing up the UFL and expecting NFL numbers.
I don't mean to write around the event itself, but -- for me, a non-fan but an admirer from afar -- the IDEA of "UFC 100" is impressive enough.
Complete column here, including:
*MLB Midseason Awards
*Boozer to the Bulls? Would be a great move.
*Spurs win the NBA offseason.
*Orlando Summer League MVP: Tyler Hansbrough!
*Latest source for Favre info: Drew Magary
*Brazil prez talks soccer smack to Obama
And a lot more. Complete column here. A few more posts later, then I'm on the road all weekend. I'll try to post tomorrow and Sunday but will likely be filing via Twitter (on the right).