The UFC was sold this year for $4 billion. When the company started in 1993, nobody would have seen that coming. Far be it from anyone to criticize any moves a company that successful made. The UFC has certainly made mistakes however, and while the Fertittas and Dana White weren’t hurt by the following failures, MMA fans sure were.
Dana White and his friends from high school bought the promotion in 2001, when its prospects looked bleak. The main moves the new owners made to keep the company from going under were to improve relations with athletic commissions by introducing weight classes and rules. Eventually the changes allowed them to get back on PPV, and onto television not too long after.
What they did to keep the company going during bleak times is perhaps the most important thing anyone will ever do for the sport. That being said, here is a list of times the UFC completely messed up.
6. Letting Pride Die
When Zuffa purchased Pride in 2007, the initial messaging was that the company would continue, just under new ownership. After about a half a year however, Zuffa simply let Pride die. They laid off all the staff in the Japanese office, many of whom would go onto help form the Dream and Rizin promotions.
There was nothing stopping the UFC from using the Pride brand to continue to run shows in Japan. Even though interest in the product had dropped considerably in the country, there still must have been some value to the name. Aside from once including Pride arenas and fighters in a video game, UFC basically just washed their hands of the once mighty promotion.
Despite the fixed fights, organized crime connection, and various unscrupulous activity, Pride was still a very respected promotion. There are a lot of great MMA memories tied to Pride, and UFC choosing to just let it die feels like a lost opportunity.