2012 has thus far proved to be anything other than the shining year of Ultimate Fighting Championship its promoters had been hoping for. Upon signing a new and quite enormously lucrative deal with Fox, UFC was expected to take the world by storm and capture the attentions and imagination of millions of new fans with an interest in combat sports.
In reality however, a series of setbacks and unexpected scenarios have seen the year as a whole become a depressingly slow one for UFC at best, perhaps motionless at worst. UFC 152 was an extremely important event for both the organization and the fighters it promotes – all parties will now be looking to use the event’s momentum to ride out the rest of the year and start 2013 off as 2012 should have been.
Barely a week passed over the summer months without another negative report or critique hitting the airwaves with little intention other than to cast aspersions on the future of UFC as a whole. While TV ratings plummeted practically on a daily basis, some of the sport’s biggest events were affected by competitor injuries. It became commonplace for radio networks covering UFC events to sit on the airwaves for hours on end publically complaining about the problems the sport was facing.
And even with UFC 152 serving as a much-needed spark of brightness at the end of the tunnel, it became increasingly difficult to hold out any real optimism.
Now that it has come and passed, UFC 152 proved to be exactly what the sport needed at the most crucial time.
Headlining the event, Jon Jones put on an incredible display and reminded the crowd just what it means to persevere in pursuit of glory. At a pivotal point, his arm was bent in such a way that for it not to break seemed impossible – any other competitor would have ended the bout there and then. Not Jones however, as not only did he find his way out of the impossible, but then went on to run circles around Vitor Belfort for nearly four full rounds and ultimately won by submission.
These kind of UFC moments have the potential to instantly transform a fighter in the eyes of a fan, with villains becoming heroes and inspiration coming from the unlikeliest of sources. True, Jones will still be considered an arrogant and cocky sole by thousands of adamant critics, but at the same time he cannot fail to have struck a chord with thousands more for his quite remarkable escape and ensuing win.
And of course, it doesn’t matter whether fans love or hate the fighters – just as long as they get them talking and bring in the viewers, this is exactly what UFC needs now more than ever.
UFC 152 marked the first in dozens of UFC events that left critics and fans alike without any just cause for complaint. Should this prove to be the start of things to come, 2012 can be brushed aside to make way for the real year of UFC – 2013.