Not only is the Ultimate Fighting Championship made to entertain fans around the world with exciting mixed martial arts fights, but it is a business as well. The company wants to do everything it can to bring in the most income, whether it be from ticket sales, pay-per-view buys or merchandise purchases. Not only can one event make a huge positive impact on the promotion, but even one fight can make a difference in drawing the interest of fans.

At UFC 162 this Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, one five-round title bout will vastly impact the UFC in more ways than one.

Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will put his belt on the line against 29-year-old top contender Chris Weidman in the headlining attraction of the UFC’s biggest event of the year. The pound-for-pound champion comes in with a 17-fight winning streak, but many have jumped on the Weidman bandwagon and suggested that the “All-American” will dethrone Silva on July 6.

The question is, would Silva retaining his title favor the UFC more or less than the undefeated Weidman pulling off the upset? Obviously, the UFC will declare the event a success after counting the stacks of money it takes in from fans in attendance and those watching at home. There’s also the UFC Fan Expo, being held the days prior to the event, for the promotion to boast about. But the focus here is the long-term benefit for the organization.

When looking at pros and cons, all signs point to a Weidman victory being more beneficial.

Shocking? Well, it shouldn’t be.

Let’s assume Weidman upsets Silva and becomes the new middleweight champion. Just imagine how the public would react when they glance at the headline in the Sunday paper the next day: “Weidman Upsets Silva in UFC 162 Headliner.” It would attract a surge of attention, mainly for the fact that it would be Silva’s first defeat in his UFC career. He may have lost before, but he’s been perfect since entering the Octagon. The significance of his first loss in the eight-sided cage would not be lost on even the majority of casual fans.

On the other hand, if readers pick up the paper and see, “Silva Continues Title Reign with Win,” they won’t bat an eye. It would be the 11th successful title defense for Silva since he won the belt in 2006. Although Silva clearly has a large fan base stretching across the globe, viewers love to cheer for the underdog, no matter what sport we’re talking about. So, in terms of gaining attention, a win for Weidman will without a doubt get more people talking.

With all this attention, just think of how much of a star this Weidman will become. It would be similar to Jon Jones climbing the rankings to defeat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the light heavyweight title, but even more of a boost considering it would be a win over the man that is widely considered to be the best fighter in the world. As soon as Weidman’s hand is raised, his popularity will instantly double. And with the popularity boom, the UFC will be able to feature him even more prominently in its promotional material.

Looking down the road, months after the fight, the possibilities become very bright for the UFC. President Dana White has already announced that if Silva does end up losing the bout on Saturday, he will receive an immediate rematch against Weidman. Now, instead of just one headlining bout between the two middleweights, there would be at least one more, with the possibility for a trilogy. At this level of the sport, and with so much at stake, rematches sell. And, should Weidman win on Saturday, the rematch would carry the need for Weidman to prove that it wasn’t just a fluke. Weidman vs. Silva 2 would more than likely be in the range of UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2, which totaled 925,000 pay-per-view buys. Regardless, the total will flirt with the one-million mark.

From the fans’ perspective, a Weidman win opens up a wide range of possibilities. Not only would we get to see Silva vs. Weidman fight at least twice, but there are still superfight opportunities out there that are destined to happen. Even if Silva loses one or both of those fights, his name is still large enough to allow for a fight with either Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre. Without a doubt, Silva vs. Weidman, Silva vs. Weidman 2 (and, possibly, 3), and Silva vs. Jones/GSP would be a handful of the top events in the UFC’s history.

Does the UFC benefit from a Silva win? Absolutely. The superfights would still be there and Silva’s aura of invincibility would be intact. But when you break down all the worldwide response and the fight opportunities for the future, it’s clear a Weidman victory would be extraordinary for the promotion.

A loss for Weidman would return him to the role of just another contender, but a win would spark the mixed martial arts landscape—and the UFC’s revenue—tremendously.

Photo: Chris Weidman (black trunks) (Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.