Perhaps it’s just the natural instinct for any company to think people want to see their own, but is it necessarily true? When PRIDE came to the United States in October of 2006 they had the same mentality. The card was littered with Americans from Josh Barnett and Robbie Lawler to Travis Galbraith and Sean O’Haire. In fact I believe there was an American in each and every fight on that card. I remember personally complaining along with several others that the reason we loved PRIDE was because it was PRIDE. I don’t want to see Americans just because I happen to have been born there. I enjoyed PRIDE because of Kawajiri and Ishida, when you come to America why does that change to Butterbean and Travis Wiuff? Give me the product I’m accustomed to seeing.
Now the UFC has went the same direction in going to Canada for UFC 83. Saturday’s card has Sam Stouts and Goulets and Doerksens left and right. But do the Canadians really want to see a ton of Canadians or do they want an extra name like Rashad Evans on the card instead? When I asked three of my Canadian MMA fan friends they all told me that outside of GSP and maybe MacDonald they’d exchange all of the other Canadians on the card for another big name fighter. Could it be that nationalism doesn’t really play much of a part outside of a very small country? It seems this is the popular opinion across all genres; you must localize talent to get more people interested. But you’ll always get more complaints than Jason Day fans scooping up tickets to the event.
Georges St. Pierre is a given to main event the same way Michael Bisping would be in the United Kingdom. But outside of the top stars you’re not really appeasing the UK by putting Paul Taylor and Paul Kelly on there (as nice of a fight as it was). Sure it gives people with no horse in the race someone to root for but really you’d get an even better reaction with a Brazilian star. I suppose it could be travel expenses or any number of factors and it really doesn’t hurt anything. I’m just thinking out loud. It’s just that at some point in the future a random company is finally going to realize what people want for the first time. The product they’re used to seeing.