I've been picking up the Topps NOW UFC trading cards for each numbered UFC event, but each time one comes up I find myself wondering just how many fights Topps will choose to make cards for. I like the idea of having the complete set, but I just can't justify buying four or five NOW cards for each one.
So far they've done a pretty good job of at least alternating the number of cards per event, with 5 for the big UFC 200 event, 1 for UFC 201, 4 for UFC 202, 3 for UFC 203, and 2 for tonight's UFC 204. It's a tough balance, and I've been keeping an eye on the explosion in cards for the baseball version of Topps NOW as people on the forums drop out of the chase for that set under the onslaught of new cards being printed each day. There are people out there basically bankrupting themselves trying to keep up with the baseball set. I hope that Topps will keep the numbers down for the UFC cards, sticking with only the key fights in numbered UFC events. If they start digging down into Fight Nights or printing cards for every single main card fight on the numbered events, I will have to drop out. And based on the print runs for most of these things, that's like 1 percent of their revenue from the UFC cards gone!
Like I mentioned earlier, they made four cards for August's UFC 202. The big one was the Conor McGregor / Nate Diaz rematch, which McGregor won by split decision. This was by far the most-printed UFC NOW card at 636 copies, almost doubling the previous high of 320 set by the Brock Lesnar card from the UFC 200 group.
Anthony Johnson got the second card for UFC 202, and this one had a print run of 90 copies, which seems to be a little below average for these cards. If you count all 13 of the cards for UFC 200 through 203, the average print run is 168, but I think Lesnar and McGregor really skew those numbers. Taking out those two, the remaining 11 cards have an average print run of 112.
I kind of wondered why Cody Garbrandt's fight got included in Topps NOW, because it wasn't even on the Main Card. It was in the preliminaries. Someone at Topps must know that he has a hobby following, because this card had a print run of 214. Who knew?
The last card features Donald Cerrone's win over Rick Story. This one had a print run of 91 cards. It will be interesting to see what the print runs do for the two cards from UFC 204, because the ones from 203 really took a step down from the previous events. It kind of looks like someone who was buying in bulk for resale stepped out of the game after 202, because the print runs dropped by about 20 for 'regular' cards that don't feature big names (McGregor, Garbrandt), people with celebrity outside the UFC world (Lesnar), and female fighters (Nunes).
Not a whole lot to say about the card backs. They have a little write-up about the fight and that's about it. I enjoyed watching UFC 204 this evening. There were plenty of good fights. I was hoping that Bisping or Henderson would earn the finish in the last fight, but it went to a decision, with Bisping retaining his belt. As far as UFC Pick 'Em goes, I picked the first five fights wrong, then got the last six correct, ending up 6 / 11 on the night.