11 December 2015

Breaking it Down 25: Some UFC Stuff from TeamBreaks.com

On the same night I got all the WWE Undisputed stuff I posted a couple of days ago, I grabbed a couple of fighter spots and a base card spot in some UFC breaks. I am not a huge UFC fan, but I follow some of the big stories and I am always looking for something new to add to my cardboard collections. The site for this breaker is TeamBreaks.com. It appears to be a one-man operation and he focuses mostly on UFC breaks, although he does a smattering of other stuff. I actually participated in one of his other breaks a long time ago, but hadn't really checked back in for a while until now. That card up top is a Francisco Rivera autograph relic card I got from a 2014 Topps UFC Bloodlines break. I got a random fighter slot, so the list was randomized and each slot got four fighter names assigned to them. If hits got pulled for any of those names, you got them. There was also a base card  /inserts slot available for any cards not considered as hits..

His site has a few draws for me. One is that he does cheap breaks. I am not sure how he makes any money, but maybe that's not his overall goal. He breaks stuff in small enough increments that you can get a random fighter spot for a couple of dollars and have a chance at something. I may not hit anything, but that's easier to justify on a $2 fighter slot than it is on a $20-80 team slot on most MBL / NFL / NBA / NHL breaks. At least I get to sit and watch cool cards get opened for half an hour or more. Second is that it seems like there aren't a lot of people busting the stuff he does. I can find a fairly large number of people busting any of the main sports, but I haven't run into a lot of UFC or wrestling breakers. They might be out there somewhere, but I haven't run into them. Third, he does quite a few giveaways and promotions, so even if you don't get a hit you might wind up with something. Fourth, he isn't super-annoying to listen to on his video feeds. My only complaint in that department is that he and / or the chat feed get a little off-color from time to time, so headphones are required when my kids are running around.

The other breaks I got into were all for 2015 Topps UFC Champions. In the bigger 6-box break I got a few fighter slots. My only hit card was this Jessamyn Duke autograph. There might have been more hits to go around, but most of the hits were doubled up across the boxes, so most of the autographs hit in the first half of the break were pulled again in the second half of the break. I've got a couple of other Duke cards, so I guess you can call it a PC now.

I also got this Black parallel of Sara McMann. Most of the parallels in Topps UFC products feature serial numbers with a lot of 8's in them, because UFC fights happen in an octagonal cage. So instead of being numbered out of # / 200, these Black parallels are numbered # / 188. This one is copy # 061 / 188. Some of the rarer parallels are # / 8.

There are also serial-numbered cards with more traditional numbering, like this Jessamyn Duke Gold numbered # 08 / 25. It's probably the best card I got in the break. The card backs are pretty light on statistics, instead usually including a brief write-up of how the fighter's 2014 went. They also include height, weight, training location, weight class, and the fighter's Twitter handle. I would be happier if they included at least win-loss records or titles held or Bowman-like graphics of wins by type or strike percentage or something.

I also had the base card slot from one box of 2015 UFC Champions. I got 170 / 200 base cards toward a complete set, with 7 doubles. That's pretty decent collation. While flipping through the stack I saw something interesting on Stephen Thompson's base card. I cropped the picture down a little on the right for a better look. It's the Blowout Cards store logo! The only online mentions I could find about Blowout sponsoring fighters come from the 2010-2012 time frame, but this picture is from a bout in July of 2015 so they must have continued the practice. The UFC has a (relatively) new sponsorship deal with Reebok now which did away with most / all of the individual fighter sponsors in favor of a large agreement with payouts based on fighter rankings and official merchandise sales. I am not sure when it took effect, though, or whether it covers t-shirts worn after a fight.

I'm not sure where this little foray into MMA cards will take me. I've been digging around on the UFC website a bit lately, learning about the fighters and weight classes and whatnot. I got a free trial to their online streaming service and watched the Fight Night card last night, which had twelve different fights. I don't know a whole lot as far as technical details, but the fights were interesting and it was usually pretty apparent to me who was in control at any given time. There were some pretty dramatic reversals, though, so you couldn't always tell who would win in the end. It just takes one or two good hits or a grappling mistake for things to get turned around. I found it pretty entertaining. The main event between Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant was pretty epic, but there weren't really any fights that didn't hold my interest except for one that ended within a few seconds due to an accidental eye poke that required medical attention.

One thing that helped keep me engaged in each fight was the UFC Fantasy Pick 'Em game, which has you pick the winner, the round in which the victory was won, and the type of victory. There are different bonus points that can be won, too, like picking an underdog that wins or for picking a title fight correctly. I didn't do too well in the game, but I got 5 / 12 fights right, with 1 bonus for an underdog and 2 perfect picks (getting the round and type of win right in addition to picking the winner).

I've found a few fighters who I might start small PCs for, so we'll see how that goes. There doesn't seem to be a huge market for UFC trading cards, but there must be a few people out there buying this stuff. The speculators come out in droves whenever a big event goes down, and there are a few fighters who seem to be popular no matter what. Combat sports are a different animal than the usual sports that people collect cards from. The major sports leagues all have a pretty consistent schedule, with each team playing a certain amount of games per year against a specific group of opponents. That means that a fan can count on seeing their favorite players / teams a certain number of times in a given year. Fighters, whether in UFC or boxing, don't have that predictability. A fighter might have 5 bouts in a year or they might go many months or more than a year between fights. It is all so political that even a really good fighter might never have a chance at a title belt depending on what the promoters want to schedule. In other sports you know that if you win enough games to win your division you are going to get a shot at a championship in the playoffs. A fighter doesn't get that guarantee, because the promoters are looking to make the most money, not necessarily to give the best fighters a shot at a belt. Winning all your fights doesn't necessarily guarantee a shot at a belt, unless the promoters feel they can sell tickets to that show.

I've been a little hesitant to get into this stuff, in large part because most of the real-life people I know who are fans of MMA are not people I get along with. I don't really want to associate myself with them. What really pulled me into it in the end was the meteoric rise of Ronda Rousey, which kind of spear-headed a public acceptance of the sport. I guess that makes me a bandwagon fan, but if you really stick to a strict definition of bandwagoning there can only be one original fan of anything, and that makes everyone a bandwagoner of one kind or another. I'll stick with it for a while and see where it goes. At the very least it adds a little more variety to my card collection.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I love UFC and WWE stuff, but I primarily stick to writing about Baseball cards. Let me know if there are particular fighters that you're interested in, I may be able to send a few your way.

    1. I try to keep my baseball content frequent enough that people will still read my blog, but I am interested in so many other things that it is difficult to always have some baseball content to write. My buying tends to be a little bit all-or-nothing, and for the past couple of months I've been cycling between Star Wars stuff, M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, wrestling cards, and now UFC cards. Most of my baseball content has come from trades or old scans that were sitting in my folder.

      I am still feeling my way around when it comes to favorite fighters. I am pretty sure I will try to grab a few Neil Magny cards. He's a National Guardsman, too. Rose Namajunas really impressed me with her fight this weekend. I kind of like Jim Miller, Court McGee, and Yoel Romero. I haven't watched a lot of fights yet, so I've got a really limited knowledge of who is on the roster and where they all fit as far as weight classes and rankings.