One Take on Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Going Up Against UFC 103

As a fan of both boxing and MMA, the last thing I want to do is write about the two sports competing with each other. That subject is tired and it's been tired, and the people who keep bringing it up tend to be ill-informed about one sport or the other.

Nevertheless, another round of those stories is sure to be popping up at the end of the summer. And this time there will be a (sort of) legitimate excuse for them, as the UFC officially announced yesterday that UFC 103 will be held on September 19 in Dallas, the same night that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez are set to do battle in Las Vegas.

For an interesting take on the situation, you can check out Sherdog.com's Jake Rossen and his latest blog entry for ESPN.com. Good looking out to Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules for tweeting that one to my attention.

There are some funny quotes in there from Dana White badmouthing the Mayweather-Marquez fight as one with no interest, and suggesting that people even told Floyd to steer clear of that weekend because of UFC. That's humorous because Dana knows his boxing, so I'm sure he realizes that the weekend closest to Mexican Independence Day traditionally has a big fight starring a boxer of Mexican heritage (usually Oscar De La Hoya in recent years), so it makes perfect sense to hold the fight on the 19th to excite JMM's fans.

It's also making me smile to think about what Money's reaction would have been had one of his advisors really gone to him about avoiding the UFC. I'm quite sure that guy would have been cursed at, smacked with a stack of $100 bills, or something to that effect.

In any case, it's a bit of instant revisionist history to think that the folks behind the rescheduled Mayweather-Marquez fight were playing some kind of game of chicken with the UFC, simply because the boxing match was officially announced first. Yes, the UFC was rumored to be running that date, and yes those rumored dates generally turn out to be correct, but it is what it is.

So while some people are sure to seize on White's comments, they need to be taken in the proper spirit. Dana is, above all else, a masterful promoter, and he understands full well that fanning the "UFC versus boxing" flames will only help drum up interest in a UFC card that currently has no main event.

That's an important fact to keep in mind if Mayweather-Marquez ends up selling more pay-per-views than UFC 103, which both Rossen and I expect it to do. The pro-boxing, anti-MMA crowd shouldn't crow too loudly about one of the biggest names in boxing garnering more buys than a show that, unless something surprising happens, will have no title matches and none of the UFC's top stars. That's not even close to comparing apples to apples.

Anecdotal evidence continues to support the idea that the crossover audience between boxing and MMA isn't as large as some members of the sports media assume it is, meaning the upcoming storm of articles about this supposed clash is probably pointless. My guess is that it wont be Mayweather's biggest PPV or the UFC's best numbers of 2009, but everyone will make enough money to come out alright.

Posted by The Franchise


Anonymous said...

UFC 103 doesn't even have a main event yet. It won't keep up with Floyd and JMM, but it will do well enough. It has to take away some buys from one another, it would be crazy to think otherwise. How much is unknown.

For what it's worth, Texas vs. Texas Tech is in primetime that night as well in football.

The Franchise said...

Sure, I get that the events being on the same day will make some viewers choose. I just don't think it will be a big enough number that either side needed to be scared of having the events on the same day. I would think JMM's Mexican fans probably mostly aren't MMA fans, and there are plenty of UFC fans who don't like boxing.

Plus, as I pointed out and you reinforced, UFC 103 has no main event, and isn't likely to be getting one that will be a huge deal. If Mayweather-Marquez would have been up against UFC 100, then yes, there would have been reason for concern. But for this show? Not so much.

GG said...

Floyd/Marquez should do better than UFC 103. It's a main event fight and it's Floyd's return. UFC 103 is more than likely going to do their worst buyrate for a non-international show this year.

However, the thing to look at is how many buys UFC 103 takes away from the boxing match. If the numbers are close, it says way more about the UFC brand than anything other than what UFC 100 did this past weekend.

It's going to be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.


GG said...

Whoops, I guess I jumped the gun on this. Do we know if UFC 103 is even going to be on PPV?

The Franchise said...


Interesting as I just assumed UFC 103 would be on PPV, if for no other reason than the fact that there's a free UFC Fight Night card on Spike three nights before. But you are right that it hasn't been made official, so Dana and company have options available to them.

Anonymous said...

now that you mention it, if they really wanted to go against boxing, they would do UFC 103 on Spike. And since it is sort of a minor event, with a rumored Rich Franklin - Luis Cane main event, that sounds like a non-ppv event to me.

And it will do big ratings.

The Franchise said...

Sure, the UFC can certainly go the Spike route and it may even make sense to do so given the lack of star power the card is likely to have. It would just be a little strange to see them do two free cards so close together.

If it were just about "beating" boxing or making a statement of some sort, then Spike would be the way to go. I don't think that's what will drive Dana's decison though; he and his team are going to do what's best for business regardless.

Anonymous said...

looks like hendo-franklin II and a free Spike night