July 19, 2017

Dana White's Contender Series Is Off To the Right Start For the Present and Future of the UFC

By Raphael Garcia

The announcement of a weekly series on UFC Fight Pass was widely seen as a good move, and two weeks into the new show, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is well-positioned. Fan sentiment hasn’t changed, and there’s a continued opportunity for the platform to be built into a strong supporting piece in the UFC’s library of content.

Boston Salmon, Kurt Holobaugh, and Sean O’Malley have emerged from the first two events with UFC contracts. Each of these men represents different benefits of this “lower-tier” of UFC bouts being available. Holobaugh, for example, is returning to the promotion after his one-fight tenure with the company at UFC 159 back in 2013. Since being cut, he’s put together a 9-2 record. His first round win over Matt Bessette showcased the growth of his skills, as this opportunity to get back into the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts came at the perfect time.

O’Malley and Salmon are on the other side of that coin. They are 26 and 22 years of age respectively, and this was their first experience fighting on a UFC platform. Both men did enough in their bouts to impress UFC President Dana White and entice him into granting them a contract.

“I liked a lot of guys...but I’m looking for somebody who has that thing,” White said as reported by Sherdog. “Sean O’Malley has that thing.”

Now, the challenge becomes what to do next with these men. Both Salmon and O’Malley should be kept on the Contender series for at least one more bout. With their contracts in place, the organization can continue to gauge where both of these athletes are now. This is the best step the promotion has taken when it comes to building the stars of the future. Fighters such as Mickey Gall, Sage Northcutt, and Paige VanZant should have been introduced through shows like these instead of the reality TV style that characterizes Dana White: Looking for a Fight and The Ultimate Fighter.

In fact, the Contender Series should replace both of these shows. There’s little chance of that happening, since The Ultimate Fighter still draws decent numbers for FS1 and the Dana White YouTube series is steadily growing in viewership. These shows may be branded as vessels to find new young talent, but the Contender Series has already supplanted both, due to both the quality of fights and the intrigue of what the fighters they have unearthed have to offer.

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series isn’t perfect. But two shows into the new venture, it’s lived up to what many expected and hoped it to be. There are areas in which the presentation and other factors can be improved, but the UFC has shown an ability to make the right type of adjustments to improve much of their content. The same should be expected with the Contender Series. So far, this is proving to be a positive addition to UFC Fight Pass that will help contribute to the longevity of the organization.


Dana White's Contender Series – Week 2 took place July 18, 2017 at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think DWCS 2 was.
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