Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin confirmed as TUF 7 coaches
As expected, UFC president Dana White announced on the 2007 Spike VGA show last night that Quinton Jackson will join Forrest Griffin as a coach of TUF 7. The two will then fight for Jackson's light heavyweight crown at the conclusion of the TUF 7 season.
As I stated yesterday, this is great news for TUF.
However, this announcement also continues a disturbing trend whereby title matches in the UFC are becoming less and less frequent. Jackson last defended the belt in September at UFC 75. Based on what we know, the title defense against Griffin probably won't occur until June 2008 or so. This means a nine-month lag between title defenses.
By my count, there were two scheduled heavyweight defenses this year; two scheduled light heavyweight defenses; three scheduled middleweight defenses (one of which ended up being a non-title fight because Travis Lutter couldn't make weight); two scheduled welterweight defenses (one of which won't happen because of Matt Serra's injury); and one scheduled lightweight defense (hampered by Sean Sherk's steroid controversy.)
In other words, each division had on average two defenses. This is not enough. Three defenses per weight class is ideal. But, it looks like UFC is moving more and more toward a boxing model in terms of the frequency of title fights. Subsequently, fewer and fewer cards will have title matches on them.
Combine that with more and more UFC cards on the schedule and the percentage of fights that are title fights is going down dramatically. Maybe the UFC has enough depth to sustain this trend. We'll have to see.
This announcement also marks the second straight season in which the show is being used to build up a title fight. I can understand that UFC is eager to use its popular basic cable show as a vehicle to build up marquee fighters and fights. However, it also artificially pushes out the title schedule as mentioned above.
What would be really nice to see would be a "24/7"-type one-month buildup for marquee UFC fights, similar to HBO's buildups for boxing matches.