Posted 08/18/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA
 
 

UFC Fight Night 47: Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux Review

UFC President Dana White announced the official attendance at the Cross Insurance Center for UFC Fight Night 47 as 5,329. The building, according to White, seats 6,500. It’s unlikely that all of the 5,300+ that did show up paid for their seats as plenty of good tickets were available as late as Thursday. The total gate of $321,470 was the lowest for a Fight Night (among those reported) since Luke Rockhold and Costa Philippou brought in $231,951 in Duluth, Georgia.

White said he had to fight with people inside the company to put this show on, that it was a personal project of sorts for him because he has a vacation home nearby. There are probably plenty of people within Zuffa (not-so?) secretly pumping their fists in validation.

The lesson to be learned here is that not every unexplored market will jump at the chance to pay good money to watch cage fights simply because the UFC brand is plastered on the poster. By my count, only Tim Boetsch had any connection to New England, let alone Maine, and you can add Zach Makovsky if you want to extend the border to Pennsylvania. The main card had no compelling matchups – not bad matchups, but nothing that sends blood rushing to your sex organs. Combine a bland card with no local draws and a company overconfident in its brand, and you wind up with a poor showing at the gate.

The best remedy probably called for building a time machine, traveling back six months in time, and having someone sternly tell Dana White to cut the shit. In lieu of that, though, they could have brought Tim Sylvia in for a one-off. Sylvia’s no longer UFC caliber, but neither is Royston Wee, you know? The UFC likes to market itself as a legitimate sports league when it’s convenient, but they’re a fight promotion at the end of the day, and they’re fools for not using Sylvia if he could have helped sell the building out. And I’m not even sure Sylvia could sell the building out at this point, but at least you have a decent promotional angle with a former UFC champ making his return and having his first fight in his home state.

OVINCE ST. WHO?

A nondescript main event unfolds nondescriptly with Ryan Bader taking a nondescript unanimous decision over Ovince St. Preux. St. Preux had moments early, but tired and started moving like molasses as the fight wore on, allowing Bader to implement his wrestling and control the fight.

The loss probably shuts the window on St. Preux ever developing into a challenger for the title. He’s 31, he’s now 0-2 against top competition, and we haven’t seen anything suggesting there’s more to Ovince St. Preux than we’ve seen. His last hope is to move to a bigger camp and hope that kickstarts his career.

As for Bader, the win keeps him treading water. Like St. Preux, he’s unlikely to ever challenge for the title, but we knew that heading into this fight. He’s a great gatekeeper at 205 with a generic wrestleboxing game and a fair amount athleticism and power. And weaknesses. Bader has a bunch of weaknesses which is mostly what makes him a great gatekeeper.

OLD AND GRAY

Gray Maynard’s 1-4-1 in his last six fights. He’s been finished with strikes in four of his last five fights. He’s 35 years old. Seems like a perfect candidate for the “forced retirement” route. And yet, Dana White isn’t looking to “chase” Maynard out of the sport.

White cited the fact that the commission licensed him for the fight, so he must be healthy enough for the sport. But then why push Chuck Liddell into retirement, as he was given a license to fight Rich Franklin at UFC 115? Why cut fighters like Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, and Yushin Okami after losses when they were licensable and hadn’t had nearly as poor a run as Maynard currently? Maynard made $45,000 to show in his last reported fight, which isn’t a ton of money, but also isn’t cheap for a lightweight, especially an old one with a bunch of blowout losses on his recent ledger.

The UFC put themselves in a weird spot when White publicly shamed Liddell into retirement back in 2010. White, and by extension the company, had the heart to put Liddell’s health before Liddell’s own drive to fight. So now, four years later, when they trot out whatever remains of Wanderlei Silva or Chris Leben or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or Gray Maynard, you have to wonder what’s different?

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan