No question if you're Dana White sitting cage side, this one stung. Can flyweights do a headliner? Can a card really have basically two noteworthy fights? It didn't look deep enough and that was the case.
I'm going to mention a few oddities about UFC 174. The arena died during the climax. The main event was not feeling like a main event. There was no buzz in the crowd. It's true that a lot of people left the arena during the fourth and fifth rounds, but that was nothing. You should have seen what happened when the final bell went. I was thinking to myself that I won't be taking long to leave the arena because most of the fans left already. I was there to see the belt and that I did.
The fight fans of Vancouver are educated. Everyone knew the deal. They knew that it was a flyweight title fight. That said, most of us hadn't seen flyweights before. I would also suggest that most of us in that arena hadn't heard one of the guys in the main event of the evening. That in itself is a bit bizarre isn't it? It turned out that it contributed to the buzz kill. Once the action started, the collective of fans in the building had a collective sigh. It was strange.
The easy way out is to say it's the fans of Vancouver. Sorry, but did you see the event? Fans weren't booing through the night with slow action. It seemed to me that people appreciated the ground game and some of the fence work throughout the night. Less educated fans have a field day with booing and that is an indicator of passion and knowledge of the sport isn't it?
You could look at this card and make a few predictions. Bader is going to be what kind of fight? You bet it was a smothering affair. The heavy weight fight didn't turn out so well but that's fighting. The crowd wasn't booing to any great extent so it wasn't as bad perhaps as Dana White suggested. What I'm getting at is that the crowd wasn't fussy during the night of fights. Therefore the UFC can't simply dismiss what happened during their main event of the evening and blame the fans.
When asked during the post fight press conference, Johnson was dismissive about hearing that some of the crowd left the building during the fight and before the results were read. He had no issue at all with it. Really? Perhaps that answer wasn't thought out or he didn't quite digest what happened. If you're a headliner of any event, music or fighting and people leave early after paying big money? That has to mean something. To me it was shocking. I wish he offered more push back in his response other than to say it's the fans rights to come and go as they please.
The guys beside me left after round 3. Seriously? A $400 ticket and you're leaving before the belt or decision is made? It says to me that people watching saw no finish in the cards. Is that indicative of flyweights? The intrigue of a finish is missing? That's a harsh criticism but how do you explain getting up and leaving? The UFC is about drama and the fact that one shot can end a fight either way. People I guess turned a blind eye to that possibility.
If you're the UFC it's a tricky situation. Dana isn't blind and as the media suggested, you simply don't see fans getting up and leaving during a main event. I really think that most people didn't know what to expect from the fight but once it started, people weren't wowed. Speed, techniques and dominance were not enough for a lot of fans to stick around. I take Johnson at his word that he tries to finish fights. The reality is people in the building believed that there wasn't going to be a finish.
Speed and technique are great but if that's not keeping butts in the seats then I believe the UFC needs to be more selective in what market or what city they decide to put the flyweight headliners in. This was the third event in Vancouver and a lot of people were hoping for a bigger star studded card and main event. That feeling may have poured out in the form of a mass exodus. Perhaps it's not fair to say, but come up with another argument why the fans left early. To suggest the fans in Vancouver are idiots isn't valid so don't go there.