The great circus sideshow that was Conor McGregor’s detour into boxing is over, and UFC president Dana White could not be happier about it. “I’m ready to get back to the UFC and do what I do,” White said with a huge smile at the post-fight press conference in the early hours of the Sunday morning after the fight. “I’m not looking to do this again.” The truth of the matter is White has absolutely no say in the matter. And he knows it. “I want to get back to business doing what I do, which is the UFC.” But nobody knows what the UFC even is anymore — including White. It used to be so simple. The UFC was where the best fighters in the world duked it out to see which martial art was best. Once that was figured out — it turns out that mixing striking, wrestling and jiu jitsu together is the way to go — the game evolved into a straight-up battle for supremacy. Men, and eventually women, were sorted into weight classes and fought to see who was the best at their size. Meritocracy was the bedrock principle from which the UFC built its hardcore fan base. Making the best fight the best was also how the UFC became a star-making machine because, unlike in boxing, the kings and queens of the organization were constantly under siege by up and comers. Therefore, anyone who could hold onto a belt for a long time was unquestionably great, and greatness is one path to stardom. The old UFC hit its pinnacle with Ronda Rousey, whose reign of unprecedented dominance came to an end just as uber talent agency WME-IMG stepped in and purchased the UFC for $4 billion. The May 2016 sale rocked the UFC to its core. On the management side, the man working in the shadows behind White, the company’s longtime match maker Joe Silva, announced his retirement. Worse still for the company as a whole, its stable of more than 500 contracted fighters all of a sudden knew exactly how much they were worth. For years, the UFC paid its fighters next to nothing because there was nowhere else for fighters to go and because there was no way for the fighters to know if they were getting a good deal or not. Unlike the NFL or NBA, nobody knew what franchises were worth or even if the sport had a viable future. As a result, the standard contracts for low-level fighters became what is called “5 & 5,” “10 & 10” or “20 & 20,” which means that the fighter is paid $20,000 to show up on weight on fight day and another $20,000 if he or she wins. Even champions coming in from other organizations, like Eddie Alvarez, were paid next to nothing. His first contract with the UFC paid him a measly “70 & 70,” according to MMA Junkie, a fact only revealed because his 2013 contract was part of a court case and thus became a public document. It is still the only full UFC contract to be made public. The UFC’s $4 billion price tag has opened the eyes of its best fighters, who are starting to demand bigger pay days. McGregor is the prime example of this new trend, but others are learning from his example. Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has been fighting with White about money and marketing opportunities for months, and the UFC boss has retaliated by threatening to dissolve the entire division. Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, meanwhile, said after his most recent fight, against Demian Maia, that he purposely fought conservatively because he was promised a super fight with Georges St-Pierre. That fight may never happen because Michael Bisping, the middleweight champion, hasn’t fought for nearly a year as he’s waited for the announced, then canceled, then re-announced gigantic GSP payday, which is finally set to go down at Madison Square Garden in November. http://nypost.com/2017/09/14/the-ufc-ruined-itself-for-4-billion/ I recommend the link rather than my cut/pastes. The NY Post is spot on. The UFC has indeed jumped the shark and have nothing to show for it. Their big names are gone and there is just no spark to the company anymore. Conor is a snake oil salesman and he will not be enough to carry the company. Instead of 15 weight classes and WMMA that no one gives a damn about, the UFC needs to go back to the old format of mens only, 155 + divisions.