True or False: The UFC needs to stop holding events every weekend

Should the UFC hold fewer events each year? We discuss what could happen if they do.

UFC belt
UFC belt / Steve Marcus/GettyImages

The popularity of the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts in general has never been higher and more in demand worldwide. Every weekend, arenas all across the globe are looking to host sold-out events and for the most part, the UFC is delivering. Although the MMA leader is still hosting regular events at their own UFC APEX, the company has been breaking back into familiar markets and even expanding into new regions over the past couple of years.

With the talent on the UFC roster being at an all-time high, it would be logical to assume that the greater number of fights and events would make for a more consistently better product. However, the event quality has become completely imbalanced leaving many to believe that the UFC should stop hosting as many events.

This trend has become more noticeable in 2023 and 2024 with the juxtaposition between several of the pay-per-view events and fight night cards, more specifically, the events hosted at the UFC APEX. The UFC APEX played a crucial part in allowing the UFC to continue putting on events during the pandemic, but now that live sporting events are back in full swing it may be time to cut back on these particular shows.

This isn't a specific criticism of UFC APEX events alone, but it seems like the UFC has become more comfortable with booking lesser fight cards in front of basically no audience and saving most of their talent for events in front of full crowds. This is a completely reasonable business strategy by the promotion, but it is undoubtedly frustrating for fight fans watching from afar.

Fans want quality over quantity when it comes to UFC fights

So far in 2024, the UFC has put together some of their greatest and most stacked fight cards in history. UFC 298, 299 & 300 are some of the most talent rich events in recent memory along with UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2, which has been the only live non-PPV event in front of a crowd thus far this calendar year. Other than these four shows, the overall card depth doesn't seem to be there with many of the other events.

Most of the Fight Night cards UFC fans have become accustomed to follow a similar script - a main event between two top fifteen contenders and an undercard containing lesser known & up and coming prospects. Most of the undercard and especially preliminary fights give little incentive for the casual and even some of the hardcore MMA fans to tune in on a weekly basis.

It feels like the UFC could put on just a couple less shows per year to really make every event feel important and unique for fight fans. Many would argue that an issue with trimming three or four events from the UFC calendar per year would mean the UFC roster would also have to downsize slightly, but there is a simple solution. Instead of holding the usual 11-13 fight events on a near weekly basis, the UFC could structure every fight card between 13 and 15 fights to make up the difference. In doing this, the early prelims, ESPN+ prelims, and main card fights would all feel like stacked main cards within themselves.

While this event structure would take place on a slightly less regular basis, the quality of each event would be much greater and every fight card would feel more important. This would also likely allow the UFC to more easily resume their live event schedule in front of sold out crowds nearly every weekend.

The company held 43 official pay-per-view/Fight Night events in 2023 (not including other live shows in Dana White's Contender Series or The Ultimate Fighter), and 17 were held at the UFC APEX. Again, this is not an argument against the usage of the UFC APEX, but Summer 2024 is just around the corner, and the promotion is still seemingly insistent on holding many events there. If the UFC is set on maintaining a live event nearly every weekend, the product will continue to look similar to it's recent form. While certain Fight Night and most pay-per-view events are loaded with top 10 talent and important divisional matchups, many of the other cards lack the appeal to make fight fans want to tune in every week.

It is indisputable that the UFC is still light years ahead of the competition, from their production, to their talent, to their marketing, and everything in between. The level of competition is unmatched but what frustrates fans of the sport is knowing that there's another level even the world's leading MMA promotion can reach. Inevitably, the solution is simpler than many may believe, and in this case, maybe (slightly) less is more.