Apologies for the slightly misleading title – this won’t actually be based upon the upcoming BAMMA 15 event in London as such. It won’t predict the outcome of the fights either, more-so what we can expect to happen after the event.
The most obvious prediction is that this will probably be the last BAMMA event.
I held off buying tickets until a few days before the show, as I was genuinely unsure if I’d have other plans on a Saturday night. As it turns out, my ladyfriend has got blood drunk on MMA recently, and insisted that we go. This will be our third event in as many months. Having never been to the Copper Box before (I really did think it was some dodgy East End boozer, and the fights would be in a circle of chalk in the car park), I was unsure as to what ticket band to purchase. I decided to go one up from the cheapest seats for safety, and was really surprised to be allocated seats three rows behind the pricier VIP section. A few hours after purchasing tickets, BAMMA made the announcement that they’re going to be streaming the whole event in the UK via Facebook to ‘widen their audience’.
That’s quite an interesting way to look at it, rather than on the free-to-air Five* channel that has been their home for many years now, they’re going directly to their Facebook community. Now, I’m not privy to the viewing figures on TV, but at the time of writing, they have 46,000 ‘likers’ on Facebook. Coincidentally, they’ve also lost their TV deal in the US, and are now signed up for ESPN3, which is also a streaming service.
The loss of the US deal might be in some part due to their changing UK TV presence. You can almost certainly blame that on the UFC. Regardless of what you think of the quality of their Fight Night London coverage, the UFC swung in, and occupied Five*’s bigger brother, Channel 5 and their regular Saturday night combat sports slot. The bigger boys came along and stole BAMMA’s ball. For the industry leader, they view BAMMA as more of a competitor than Cage Warriors.
This isn’t a critique of Cage Warriors content, more that BAMMA have/had a non-subscription based TV deal, which means they have access to a much larger audience, who in turn could potentially generate larger advertising revenues. The UFC craves mainstream acceptance and exposure, so if it means trampling over BAMMA then so be it.
Cage Warriors is an interesting one, they’ll remain out of the UFC’s crosshairs for as long as they’re useful. With the UFC unfurling over Europe in the coming months, and diluting their content by running so many events, Fight Pass or otherwise, they’ll need a steady supply of European beef to bulk out their cards. Where better place to start than Cage Warriors? Their mix of considered matchmaking, regular events, and recognisable talent is just what the UFC needs. 20+ former Cage Warriors have fought in the UFC in recent years, heck they even picked up one of their commentators to front their Euro Fight Pass content. In the space of one calendar month, two former Cage Warriors champions, in Neil Seery and Jim Alers, have signed on the dotted line with the UFC. Plus their former Welterweight champion Cathal Pendred is predicted to be a massive star in the upcoming Ultimate Fighter 19 series.
Moving back to BAMMA, I have been critical of them over the years, mainly out of frustration. They have an impressive product, a suitably glitzy presentation, but they’ve often lacked continuity, which has seen a lot of great British fighters jump ship to Cage Warriors and beyond, as they simply can’t earn a decent crust fighting once, maybe twice a year. I’d actually be disappointed if they were no longer around, as ultimately if there is less choice, the consumer suffers in the end. Having said that, I wouldn’t have a problem with Daley vs Dalby for the Cage Warriors Welterweight title somewhere down the line.
Come at me on Twitter bros/ladybros – I’m easy to find – it’s @xives