If you have seen the commercials for UFC on Fox 6, you may notice something odd. No, it doesn’t have weird music, crazy effects or UFC President Dana White minus an ear. It’s something even more troubling. Okay, maybe not more troubling than a one-eared Dana White, but troubling all the same.

The event’s headliner is a UFC flyweight championship bout between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson. But the UFC doesn’t seem too inclined to acknowledge that. Instead, it has advertised the flyweight championship fight as a “world title fight.” Whether or not this was done on purpose, it still sort of shines a negative light on the 125-pound division.

Is this an indication that the division is in trouble or that people are disinterested in flyweights?

It definitely doesn’t help that Dana White has gotten giddy over Ronda Rousey and the impending women’s division (though his giddiness is definitely more about Rousey than the division as a whole). So much effort has been put in by the UFC brass to get Rousey over with the fans and bring interest to her as a draw. The flyweights are no longer the new kids on the block, and even though they get a headlining spot on the Fox card, they appear to be taking a backseat to everything else.

It’s understandable that the UFC is trying to build an audience for the flyweight division by putting it on free television. The more publicity the division gets the better. However, the UFC is showing more confidence in Rousey to draw viewers than guys who have established reputations in the UFC.

Consider the previous high-profile fights at flyweight. The two that come to mind are the Ian McCall’s rematch with Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FX 3 and the UFC 152 co-main event between Johnson and Joseph Benavidez for the inaugural title.

The UFC on FX 3 card in Florida that featured McCall and Johnson did not do a great live gate and the ratings were average. This was an anticipated rematch that failed to do numbers the UFC was accustomed to seeing.

The UFC 152 card sold out, but that was with the title fight in the co-main event, and Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort in the main event. The live gate likely wouldn’t have taken a hit if Johnson and Benavidez were in the main event, since Canadians are crazy for MMA, but the pay-per-view numbers wouldn’t nearly have been as good.

Further hurting matters is the reception of both fights from the average fan. The divide between the average fan’s opinion of those two fights and the opinion of staunch supporters of the flyweight division was incredible. On one side, fans were complaining about the fighters dancing around and not beating each other into a bloody pulp and eventual unconsciousness. On the other side, fans were proclaiming the fights as entertaining chess matches that, while not reaching the level of the first fight between McCall and Johnson, were a joy to watch. Dana White publicly sided with the latter group, calling those who complained about the fight crazy.

But the UFC is still a business, and that means that what counts in the end is ratings and revenue. Although White may agree with the flyweight faithful, the UFC’s marketing is meant to appeal to the larger masses. Therefore, “flyweight championship” has been replaced by “world title fight.”

That is where we lie now. Does the UFC trust the 125ers to sell at this point? It’s doubtful. The UFC is less than a year into developing this new weight division and it already seems like the division is limping along on crutches. The advertising for this fight, at least, would certainly suggest as much.

Photo: Demetrious Johnson (R) connects with a right hand (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.