by Rich Klein
One of my favorite names I like to call myself is a hobby dinosaur. I grew up in the era of no cable, where you had anywhere from three to ten television stations to watch and a seemingly similar number of radio stations. That was also an era when boxing was still an important sport and the concept of what is now called UFC or mixed-martial arts was something kept in back rooms and hidden from general view. In those days, everyone knows who the heavyweight champion was and today, the heavyweight champions are all named Klischko and to figure out what title which Klitschko brother has. Bonus points for the full names of the boxing organizations that each brother has a title from.
Today, boxing leads the nation in alphabet soup titles. UFC has a well-oiled machine in which all the fighters are under the same management and organization. That one giant umbrella also makes producing card sets so much easier, as Topps only has to negotiate with one group, not with each and every boxer. Could you imagine trying to produce a boxing set in 2011?
Having the UFC contract also enables Topps to try to stretch the boundaries of sets. For the moment of Truth product, Topps went with the drawing motif In recent years, the concept of cards with drawings on them has been very popular. When I did my new product check-in with Al of Triple Cards in Plano, he mentioned how much his customers who purchased this product liked the drawings on the Topps UFC cards.
At At's store, he had gone through a decent amount of product at $60 per box. The boxes had 16 packs per box with 10 cards per box. Each box indicated there would be three hits, of which one would be a relic, one would be an autograph and one would be a dual autograph, dual relic or relic autograph card. The guarantee of three hits, and the retail store print point of $60 with the on-line "retail" prices being $50-60 per box makes this a product with very little downside risk for a collector.
So how did we do from our box?
Base Cards 118/220. Slightly more than half the set
Gold Parallels: Rich Attonito, Shamar Bailey, Carlos Condit, Josh Grispi,Clay Guida, Johny Hendricks, Tim Kennedy, Dong Hyun Kim, Ian Loveland, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Bart Palaszewski, Claude Patrick, Dennis Siver, Thiago Sivla, Sam Stout
Black (#d to 88) Karlos Vemola
Fight Poster Review: Michael Bisping/Yoshihiro Akiyama; Nate Marquardt/Ivan Salaverry; BJ Penn/Diego Sanchez
Showdown Shots: Yoshihiro Akiyama/Chris Leben; Randy Couture/Lyoto Machida; Kenny Florian/Gray Maynard; Brock Lesnar/Cain Velasquez; Demain Maia/Mark Munoz; Roy Nelson/Junior dos Santos; Tito Ortiz/Ryan Bader; Nate Marquardt/Yushin Okami
Collision Course: Frankie Edgar/Gary Maynard; Matt Hughes/Matt Serra; Kevin Randleman/Bas Rutten
Grappling Gurus: Ryan Bader. Matt Hughes
Heavy Hitters (#d to 88): Lyoto Machida
Collision Course Dual Relics: Junior dos Santos/Shane Carwin
Autographs: Frank Mir
For the price point, that is a better mix of base cards and inserts than one sometimes sees in the higher end products. Three good autograph or relic cards including two featuring the current champ, Junior dos Santos. Overall, a product that shows how good value can be obtained at the very reasonable price point levels. Lots of cards, lots of inserts, a low average cost per card out of the box. Sounds like the UFC not only has a winning concept as a 21st century sport, but that translates well into cards as well.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]