Pro Elite, the promotor of the Elite XC events seen on Showtime earlier this year, has announced another partnership with another promotion. This time the U.K.’s popular Cage Rage is getting on board, and Pro Elite claims to have agreements almost finalized with Spirit MC in Korea, King of the Cage, and Icon Sport.
I’m still trying to figure out whether this trend toward unification is a good thing, a bad thing, or whether it will have any significant impact at all. It does, however, seem like a natural evolution.
The sport simply can’t deal with a ton of small-time promotions spread all over the place, each doing things their own way. While each promoter is trying to claw out a market share for himself, they’re losing ground by not working together.
And as much as the UFC might not like it, this move would be good for them, too. Having these promotions all under one umbrella gives them a better chance to gauge young talent, and ultimately will provide them with polished fighters who can put on a better show and have some resonance with audiences before they get to the Octagon.
Naturally, this is also a good thing for the fighters. The more promotions there are, the more competition for top talent. That means more money for the fighters who deserve it, and less risk that the young fighters will be taken advantage of.
But the real test of this MMA confederacy will come when it’s time to swap talent, particularly title-holders. Cage Rage isn’t going to want to see their top guys go to Hawaii and get beat by an Icon fighter, and vice versa. So what do these partnerships really mean?
It’s too early to tell right now, but if nothing else we can see it as a sign that order is descending on the MMA world. That’s encouraging. That means guys like Brandon Vera won’t have to take whatever the UFC offers them if there are other legitimate organizations he can turn to.
It also means that with more financial power backing them, these organizations will be able to give more shows to more people, thus increasing worldwide exposure to the sport. Who knows, we may even get to a point where no one calls it ‘Ultimate Fighting’ anymore.
Until then, the UFC is still the biggest game in town.