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Not that the NFL got lucky. The most solid, recession proof organization in sports doesn’t need it. The Super Bowl is more than a game, it’s a cultural happening; peerless in the number of people turning their TV to whichever network is carrying it; bringing in sponsorships the other sports entities envy; dominating the conversation in the days leading up to kickoff.

But having Peyton Manning, the cinch Hall of Famer in perhaps his final game going against the flamboyant young talent Cam Newton sure makes it more fun. The great one against the potential future great one. Of course the Denver defense is what got the Broncos there this time against Carolina’s risk taking, high reward offense.

It’s the quarterbacks that almost always steal the focus. It remains the most scrutinized, publicized and rewarded position in all of sports. Even carrying over to other aspects of business, “The quarterback of the project.” “This deal was made by our person who quarterbacked the entire venture.”

There are only so many great quarterbacks, main event guys who deserve the accolades. Two will meet next week.

In MMA there are only so many main event draws worthy of PPV dollars. Not every champ is an automatic money generator for an organization. The UFC, like the NFL, is star driven and has piggybacked the Super Bowl weekend as a big event of their own usually title shot weekend.

That changed when former heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez had to pull out of a rematch with the man who took his title Fabricio Werdum, because of a back injury. But the show must go on,right? Not so fast. The star of the show, the champ Werdum declined to fight the UFC’s replacement (albeit worthy) challenger Stipe Miocic.

It made sense for Werdum, a title defense with two weeks to prep for a different fighter plus not being as he says at 100 percent. What is also meant was the hoopla had fizzled, the anticipation was over, the main event was no longer worthy of the asking price fans pay.

Only so many MATCHUPS intrigue fans. With no heavyweight title, UFC 196 became another good show but one now relegated to cable FS1. The headliners now Johny Hendricks, who had to pull out of UFC 192 versus Tyron Woodley because of weight problems, taking on top 10 Stephen Thompson. Nice storylines, but no belt and no immediate one in sight for the winner.

If, heaven forbid, a quarterback or any key player was injured the Super Bowl goes on and the audience will be gigantic either way. In combative sports though, there’s no substitution for losing a star, as few guaranteed drawing cards, as there are.

That will never change.

– Kenny

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Watch Kennyalong with Bas Rutten, LIVE on “Inside MMA” Fridays on AXS TV! Check out Kenny’s book “Not Hit Yet,” an insider look at the MMA world.

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