although the UFC hates to being compared to Pro Wrestling they are more connected than you think.
All that speedos, talking trash in the cage before matches, lol even Ben Rothwell came out to Raw Theme at UFC 135.
When BJ got in conflict with the UFC because of money and not being recognized like Matt Hughes after winning the WW belt one of the UFC executives demanded that the only solution would be that BJ went to the next UFC asked for Dana White forgiveness and left the belt in the middle of the octagon. BJ laughed and the idea and replied: "Who the fuck he think he is? Vince McMahon? is this the WWE?"
One of the biggest stars and PPV seller uses WWE antics and came from Pro Wrestling. Easy to guess who, huh?
UFC modus operandi is more about the show than who is the best fighter, it's about who can generate better cash-flow for the UFC, that's why you see 1 year guys at the top fighting for the belt then forgotten at sidelines the next(read Jon Fitch), fighters who have no more business at UFC but have a good fan-base like Wandeco or Dan Hardy.
And i see nothing wrong with it, PRIDE knew that what would sell tickets was huge fights with larger than life characters, there it was REALLY about the show and captivating the audience, there you could lose 3 fights but if you gave a big show you will be assured to get another contract for a BIG PAYROLL, the biggest sellers over there?
Bob Sapp, Ogawa and Yoshida and i bet they weren't who you were expecting right?
Bob Sapp became a multi-millionare because of his size, persona and japanese fascination with big black dudes. Was a super-star at several CM, movies and talk-shows. Heck! Even Giant Silva appeared at more japaneses talk-shows than let's say Mauricio Shogun.
Ogawa and Yoshida received more than 2 millions dollars each for their one match.
When BJ Penn left the UFC for K-1 he was offered around 175.500US$ for each fight, while the UFC refused to pay him Matt Hughes-like(around 100.000US$) and wanted to up his current contract to 25.000, 30.000 top. BJ asked for more and they replied: "Look Kid, you are gonna get more sponsors and more visibility." It's a mentality about: "Hey, we pay you less but you get to sell yourself more." That's why you see Shane Carwin a fighter who went to a title-shot and brutalize his opposition until there getting only 40.000US$.
In my opinion is better to be a Johny Hendricks style fighting several times on the undercard against lesser competition improving his pay increments by fight and getting used to the cage before going straight for the title-shot.
UFC is more concerned about incremental pays than the real value of the fighter, is that a bad thing? Maybe, but it's what keep their costs not as high as other events who can't seem to manage their accounting very well(Affliction flunked because of high fighter purses and not enough talent and not generating positive cash-flow even though they had Donald Trump backing it up.)
In sum, i lol everytime the UFC scoffs that it's not modeled after WWE, even though they work at the same PPV format.