FIGHT CLUB: UFC 200 in danger of feeling undercooked

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Ready to rumble again: McGregor and Diaz.

Dana White proudly proclaimed this week that when all the ingredients for UFC 200 come together “minds will be blown”. Well, it’s going to take a couple more stimulating dishes to supplement what’s currently on the menu.

All signs indicate it will obliterate just about every metric in UFC history. But even though they like to go big for cards where the number features two zeroes, digits are not everything. There’s a real danger that UFC 200 could feel slightly undercooked.

This week saw the card finally begin to take shape, yet, some of the fights have been met with a tinge of apathy.

As expected, Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor will indeed headline the bicentennial event in Las Vegas on July 9 and as regular readers of this column will note, it’s a fight that makes sense for one reason: a monster pay-per-view buy-rate that appeals to a mainstream audience.

Other than that, at least on the face of it, there’s no real reason to run it back. In fact, the only person who wanted to see the rematch so soon, is the Irishman himself because the fans were happy to hold off on it.

Then, there’s the interim featherweight title bout between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo – a fight that further rots the logic behind interim belts. The pair face off for a version of the 145lbs strap that has no purpose other than to serve as a title eliminator. Interim belts are designed to plug the gap when champions can’t defend through injury, not because the title holder is off gallivanting in other divisions.

So, we have two fights at the very top of the bill, which ultimately in the grand scheme of things matter little from a contextual perspective. They’re fun fights no doubt but you need more than that for a card of this significance.

There’s just a distinct lack of spice and you could even argue that May’s UFC 198 in Brazil is actually more exciting. There’s a heavyweight championship on the line and the card is so stacked, that one of the all-time greats in Anderson Silva is fighting in the third-to-last match of the night.

In 90 minutes this week, 32,000 tickets were sold and the event in Coritiba will certainly give UFC 200 a run for its money as the most talked about card of the year.

There is one man who could change the complexion completely: Georges St. Pierre. No conclusions can be made about a possible return for the best welterweight we’ve ever seen because nothing’s actually been announced. But talk in the media is ramping up and it’s hard to shake the feeling an announcement of some sort is imminent.

Add GSP’s return the Octagon after a three-year hiatus to a Miesha Tate title fight and you’ve got yourself a blockbuster event. Lets hope White is on the case already.

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