Previously I wrote about UFC and co-promotion (and again UFC and co-promotion (continued…) basically saying that while eventual co-promotion was inevitable for the UFC, they were best off avoiding it as long as possible. Well it looks like they might not have that long after all, and it might be their own fault.
Though the UFC has created a hectic MMA programming schedule for itself (as it written in M-M-Abundance), it has also increased its roster of fighters to the extent that it simply cannot schedule fighters to fight as frequently as they might want to. Cases like Roger Huerta who fought 5 times in 2007 and has indicated that he might like to fight less this year are pretty rare indeed. This is especially the case for ranked fighters who can demand higher payouts.
Ironically those fighters are in demand and have more value in in an ever expanding market of MMA promotions. Situations like Tim Sylvia leaving the UFC (which was predicted back in January) will become more common. The motivation is not to fight for another organization with better pay, but to fight for multiple organizations with nonexclusive contracts. A freelancer can really bring home the bacon as long as he can avoid injury (and in the case of fighters it’s not like they’re giving up a salary anyway).
When so many in demand fighters start to reap the benefit of nonexclusive contracts, organizations like the UFC will no longer have the dominance of the fighter market and will be forced to co-promote in order to put on the most compelling fights.