Not the Time: UFC’s Press Conference Was More About The “Later” Than the “Now”

By Raphael Garcia

Press conferences are a big deal in the world of sports. These are the moments that teams announce big name signings, players justify actions on the field, and fans witness the often coveted coach’s meltdown. However, the Ultimate Fighting Championship may have successfully completed a first when it held a press conference on Monday to announce that the big news it had planned to announce had fallen through. Fortunately for the UFC, it had plenty of other information to talk about during the session.

While the mixed martial arts media and fans alike laughed at the situation that the UFC found itself in, the promotion still dropped a number of interesting news bits. These included the announcement of the 45 events taking place in 2015, Matt Brown vs. Tarec Saffiedine as the main event of UFC Fight Night 60, and multiple other sound bites for those in attendance. Yet the promotion was still missing that big “it” moment that seemed to capture the attention of fans leading into Monday afternoon.

Fans and media members continue to speculate about what the UFC had planned to announce. Everything from the announcement of the long-rumored UFC uniforms to drug testing regulations have been bounced around by media experts since the “failed” press conference. However, one shouldn’t ignore what did occur Monday at UFC headquarters.

Return of the “Next Big Thing?”

UFC President Dana White once again mentioned his favorite two words when it comes to PPV revenue: Brock Lesnar. The current WWE Heavyweight Champion is nearing the end of this contract term with the professional wrestling group and hasn’t provided any information about his future plans. Just as we’ve seen all the other times this has occurred, a return to MMA enters the conversation.

As the UFC has turned towards matchmaking with an entertainment value, and with the heavyweight division watered down, now may be the best time for Brock’s return to the cage. With proper matchmaking that capitalizes on his name recognition, both Lesnar and the UFC could benefit long term from a brief — but lucrative — return to the Octagon.

Everyone gets a Title Shot

Multiple individuals may have had a moment of excitement when their name came up in relation to potential title shots. At one point, White guaranteed a title shot to Cub Swanson if he can defeat Frankie Edgar this coming weekend at UFC Fight Night 57. Moments later he mentioned that both Anderson Silva and Conor McGregor can get shots as well if they are victorious the next time they step into the cage.

But what about everyone else? What about Nick Diaz and Frankie Edgar? Are they both left out in the cold, because they were not promised title opportunities if their hands are raised. And Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero should be upset for being overlooked in the middleweight division. Silva has already lost to Chris Weidman twice, and in dominating fashion. In a world where it is easy to be overlooked, everyone should recognize that a winning streak is not enough for a shot at a title. 

“Rowdy” Time may be Coming to a Close in 2015

Perhaps the most alarming quote was Ronda Rousey’s mention that she has “a lot of important decisions to make” after facing Cat Zingano at UFC 184. She is one of, if not the biggest draw that the UFC has on the roster at this time. If she walks away, that would leave a void that the organization would need to fill, and quickly.

Gina Carano left the sport at a similar point in her career. However, the impact back then would not be as major as the one felt if “Rowdy” packs her bag. Are there any other stars in the women’s divisions who can carry the mantle and workload that Ronda has the past few years? The answer to that question has to be a no. Even as the UFC works to develop new stars through The Ultimate Fighter, it would be extremely difficult to recognize any of them as someone who is ready to be seen as a major star in the sport.

It will be interesting to see how the UFC tries to keep Ronda in place and how they will respond if the leaves. Will she get the GSP-type treatment, or will her smile always be welcomed back into the Octagon.

While media and fans took to Twitter to drop funny one-liners about the UFC’s failure at its “The Time Is Now” press conference, there was still information provided that was worth mulling over. The biggest bit of news that was dropped was that of the UFC’s failure to deliver big news, but until that moment there was still a wealth of talking points from the news conference on Monday.

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