I generally like the UFC better then other promotions. Yes Pride has the bigger production value and the better fighters, however the also include many works. I grew up with the UFC and still buy every PPV and am rarely dissappointed. My biggest gripe is the phenominom of the dissappearing champion. Why does the UFC offer no explanation when the champs do not return? First Jens battled to the top and then POOF he's gone and no explanation is given. Then Tim is stripped and no real explanation was given until recently. Now BJ Penn seems to have vanished and again no explanation or real attempt to keep him. THose on this forum know why but to the general audience this seems cheesey. In boxing the champ is the champ until they retire or are dethrowned. THis provides a natural order and makes the UFC seem less legitimate. IMHO
You are right, it doesn't look good to have your champions simply disappear. But often times it is better not to air your dirty laundry (money issues, the Barnett situation). Even though, I am still amazed that the UFC is still having the problem of champions losing their belt outside of the cage instead of in it.
While the "championship" scene is obviously an issue... another problem is the lack of solid media coverage...
If ever their is contraversy surrounding boxing champ (occasionally someone vacates the belt or is stripped) the media is on it - the contract disputes, the politics, the push for invalid contenders, money issues, industry/sanctioning body problems, etc... In MMA it is mostly cheerleader commentary - and less face it... the broadcast booth for the PPV's is Zuffa employees/contractors... they are not independant sports personalities working for a sports network.
That is why I liked Max as a boxing commentator... Atlas has the passion and technical savvy to give analysis from ringside, but Max is very good about talking about alot of industry stuff (like why a fight is a good TV fight, or how it is good for so-and-so to get the big pay-day, or if it is a legit title bout, etc...)
I agree that it would not be good to air dirty laundry like the ongoing issues with enhancing drugs. I do think that having a big billing like Hughes vs. Penn and then when Penn wins he is not seen again in the UFC also creates a negative view on the sport. I have had friends that became fans after the Huges/Penn fight due to the drama of a lighter fighter going up in weight to fight the "unbeatable" champion. Now they are asking me when is that Penn guy fighting again because they want to see him defend the championship. It is like a Rocky situation where the underdog beats the champ. THey want to see the follow up and now there is no follow up. It shows the weakness of the organization and disrupts the dramatic story line for the casual fan.
I like Max Kellerman.